I Wonder. . .

by Maria Theresa Maggi on September 5, 2016


sun on oceanDuring an astrological reading, I used to be fond of telling my clients that to access a particularly destiny-oriented point in their charts, they had to be willing to take a leap. The way I illustrated what that leap might feel like was to use Cinderella as an example. She had to be willing to believe that somehow, even though she couldn’t see how, a pumpkin could become a coach, and white mice become white horses. If she refused to at least wonder how it might be so, she’d never have ended up at the ball.

In other fairy tales, we often see the scenario of the 3 Wishes. All of these stories are about how we must be present with our wishes, and generous, too, with what the implications might involve. Often, wishing is too tightly bound to the agitation of the moment, and then expansion of view is what must be learned.

I think fairy tales have these lessons in them for a reason. Just a day less than a month ago, I was walking back to the beach house my daughter-in-law’s cousin owns, where we were guests for the weekend, and I happened to look up beyond the beach and see a trailer park nestled above the rocks with what seemed like a spectacular view of the ocean, which that day teemed with seals playing in the waves just beyond our reach. Everywhere I looked there was magic.

As my eyes made out the trailer park, I had the fleeting but full-hearted thought, “I wonder what it would be like to live there.” Then, of course, I promptly forgot.

But I didn’t forget how well I slept at the ocean, how even recovering from deep dental cleaning I’d had the previous week I had no hot flashes, and my nervous system seemed to settle down into a relaxed groove. It was so obvious that my family and I began to discuss the possibility of what it might be like for me to relocate in that direction. We were thinking perhaps next summer. The trip home was filled with the discussion of this possibility.

With all this in mind the next night, I thought I’d do some internet “dreaming” and google what might be available in the general area we had spent that weekend. I was thinking “house” and “next year” but just wanted to see price ranges, layouts and beach access. The very first thing Zillow coughed up was a single wide trailer in a place I’ll call Holiday Home. I was unmistakably drawn to it, though it took me a while to realize it, because it wasn’t in my register of what I thought I was looking to discover, and when. But I had somehow forgotten to close that first page, so every time I clicked on something else it was still there. Finally I looked at it again. I saw it had a good yard with a fence that would safely enclose two dogs. I saw it had a lovely and sturdy front porch. I saw it had a light and airy kitchen. I saw that from the living room and kitchen you could see a piece of the ocean out the window. I saw that it had been substantially remodeled in its fundamental structures like roof, wiring, siding. And I saw, that I could almost, perhaps, somehow, buy it right now.

At first I resisted. That isn’t what the plan was. Still, there it was, even though I slept on it, even though I told myself you have to wait until next year. Finally I asked my son and daughter-in-law if they thought I should call. Perhaps just humoring me, they said, sure, why not. Kelly looked it up and discovered it was on the same beach we had walked and sunned and sanded on, that we had in fact walked past it. And then I knew. It was in the very same trailer park I had looked up and wondered about, my heart open with the wonder of possibility.

I decided it was important to at least go see it. My kids, being the great kids they are, humored me once again and drove me back out to the coast to do so. None of us expected to like it as much as we did, but somehow it was even more cute and more sound and better than the photos.

I couldn’t really quite afford the asking price, but the realtor had told us the seller was wiling to come down on it. She lived very far away and could not afford to come out to the Oregon Coast any longer.

So on the way home we came up with a low ball offer that I could afford, not knowing whether it would be too insulting to be accepted, or whether I’d actually have a chance. Imagine my sense of wonder expanding when we were able to agree on a purchase price just $500 above what I offered. We closed on August 31.

Like the fishermen and the petulant princesses in the fairy tales, I had to be willing to expand my view, both of what I could afford, and how I ought to do it. In the end, it will be a slow miracle process. It will cost me a little bit of my retirement to do so, but I will keep both my place in Portland and this one until next summer. I’ll have the turn of the seasons to decide if this is where I want to be, and if it is, then I can sell my place in the city and live at the ocean full time.

Some people say I won’t like the winter. But the people who live in the park that I’ve met so far all say I’ll love it here any time of the year. The best part is I’ve given myself time to find out for myself.

This morning Romeo and I walked on the beach together, the first morning after the kids returned to the city, leaving us to stayin our new place for a while. The water was several different shades of blue, and the waves were breaking in dramatic bursts of foam. We headed north on the beach because I wanted to retrace the steps back to where I’d first seen this stretch of ocean, where I’d made some simple charcoal sketches looking down at the beach.


More than seeing what I’d sketched again, I wanted to meet up with that alternate self and thank her–the one that walked over to stand at the top of the staircase down to the sand, just minutes before heading back to the city, the one who blew a kiss out to the waves and said “I’ll be back.” Little did I know how soon it would be, how the spirits of the seaside heard my wish and helped the universe provide just the right place. I just wanted to loop back in wonder and thank that part of myself for opening up the possibility which now is quite real indeed. I traced that energetic trajectory in the physical by picking up a rock, a piece of shell made into an angel’s wing and a tinier rock much closer on its way to becoming sand: the large one at the place where I looked up, the angel’s wing about half way back to where my beach access is now, and the tiny one in the course muddy sand that leads up the hill to the park. Each of them literally shouted at me to bring them with me as evidence of a wish come true. They remind me our wishes and wonderings have “weight,” that it takes some ethereal “lift” to set them in motion, and finally a willingness to trust that large magnificence can manifest from what is seemingly tiny.

angel wing between beach stones

Of course it will take a  while to fully sink in. But that’s what this next year is for. And while some my age and older are fashioning ways to “age in place,” I seem to be accessing an internal gypsy. I had to confess to a friend who is very much an advocate of aging in place, that although I’m an advocate too, too, at least in principle, in my particular case, it’s sort of cracking me up to realize I’m dong a terrible job of it. This mystified me at first, since I am not the one among my friends who globe-trots to swim with the dolphins or hike in the wilderness. It helped me feel a lot less strange, though, to discover the seaside I’ve chosen–or that chose me–is also considered the whale watching capital of the Oregon coast. The great gray whales themselves migrate up and down our shores, and come very close to let their babies sleep in the kelp beds off an underwater shelf. There’s even a resident pod, who for whatever reasons, some say because of fatigue and scars battling orcas and other rigors of the long journey from Alaska to Mexico, choose to stay off our shores year round. So whether I stay or go in the end, I have the example of these magnificent creatures, reminding me we are all on the move, always, however slowly, and home can be in each and every step of the way.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the significance of what my daydreams hold, and for how long they have lived as a part of me. I am particularly good at hiding such things from myself in the hustle–and sometimes struggle– of making the every day necessities work. But truth be told, long ago, as a graduate student driving up and down Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California, I would often pass a trailer park perched on the very edge of the sea and wonder what it would be like to live there. Many years later I heard it was removed to make room for oceanfront mansions, and I mourned that transition.  I laughed to myself that even before I got to graduate school, reruns of The Rockford Files showed me that James Garner’s character got away from it all by living and conducting business in a little seaside trailer, where he put up with his rather salty Dad. He got a lot of his best insights about solving cases out in that sea air.  I also spent a lot of time as a 20 something walking on the beach, or just staring out into the vastness of the water. So this is a slow motion miracle in more ways than taking the year to migrate back and forth before choosing.

The beach I walked on as a young woman in southern California had the shadow of Catalina Island out on the horizion. The Oregon coast has no such island or landmark out to sea. It is all rocky, sandy terrain, coves and trees along the edge and nothing but ocean and sky on the horizon. Forty years out from my 20’s, it seems fitting that at this stage of the game, I would want to look out on the completely open sea. I wonder what will come of that. . .

Maria (moonwatcher)




Leave a Comment

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gena September 6, 2016 at 4:02 am

What a beautiful post, Maria, a testament to the power of openness and wonder as well as a tribute to the mysterious and happy ways in which our dreams and yearnings tend to return to us throughout life. It’s so true that often the hardest part of sailing off into a new chapter or phase is simply having the imaginative power to climb over whatever wall of incredulity is standing there — the inability to conceive of how a pumpkin could become a coach, to use your example.

I also love that you took the time to thank your self for having had the courage to listen to cues and remain open and inquiring. It strikes me as a beautiful practice to acknowledge and commemorate the parts of ourselves that have taken the risks that help to move us forward.

Like you, I’m not an intrepid world traveler or a hiker or much of an “adventurer” in the conventional, physical sense, but I have sought out very big life changes regularly every 5-6 years, no matter how much I say I don’t like change. So I understand having the gypsy tendency you mention. I wish you good fortune and peace as you begin this new exploration, and I also commend you on setting up the transition in a way that works for you and your needs.



2 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 9:15 am

Thanks for this beautiful comment, Gena, and all the profound support for being open to the mechanisms that make it possible. Cliimbing over the wall of assumptions that creates the incredulity can be a challenge, yes? And nice to hear that someone else who does not consider themselves a “regular” adventurer gets it. I know you’ve jumped into some pretty big waters yourself, despite not seeming like the “type.” Here’s to life surprising us, always. xoxo


3 Veronique September 6, 2016 at 8:26 am

Congratulations Maria, what a wonderful new adventure you have allowed in your life! Angels are always around to hear our dreams and help make them come true. They will make us look up at the right time or make a page stay open on the internet to catch our attention 😉
I am looking forward to reading how you adjust and if you decide it is indeed the place for you.



4 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

Thank you Veronique–and I so agree with you about those angels. I am happy you will enjoy reading about how this unfolds, too. xo


5 Gloria September 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

Congratulations on your magical, serendipitous move. It gives me hope that maybe someday…….


6 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 9:12 am

Thanks Gloria–glad to give you hope. . .we all can do it!


7 Jaye September 6, 2016 at 8:59 am

Bravo, Maria! I read your post with delight (and just a tiny bit of envy) that you allowed yourself to follow your dream, even though it deviates from the “aging in place” model. Enjoy every moment you spend walking on the beach, gazing out over the water, and watching the whales.


8 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 9:12 am

Thanks so much, Jaye! 🙂


9 Teresa Wagner September 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

Bless you, and may you experience the magic of this place every day.


10 Pam September 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

I’m so excited for you, Maria! I just love how this came together! I understand the draw of the ocean. Darren and I will be exploring the Oregon coast as a possible place to move once this house sells. Maybe we will end up being neighbors! 🙂


11 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 11:43 am

Thanks Pam! That would be great! 🙂 xo


12 Peggy Bean September 6, 2016 at 9:56 am

I am so happy for you! It sounds like a magical spot on this Earth….a wonderful place to watch the sun set and moon rise. Many blessings, Maria. A little nudge for me to open my heart and eyes to other possibilities in my life, too. When I see your posts in my inbox, I get a little thrill each time. Happy. Thank you. More please!


13 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 11:45 am

Thank you Peggy! I am honored my wondering and wanderings are inspiring to you. What a pleasure that is to know. xoxo


14 Vivienne September 6, 2016 at 10:14 am

Loved your post Maria, it seemed to talk to me today. May all your wishes come true and may we always have hope.


15 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 11:50 am

Thank you Vivienne–so glad this post spoke to you the way it did. And yes, may we always have hope!


16 Veronica September 6, 2016 at 10:24 am

Oh, wonderful, Maria! Congratulations!! I’m so happy you listened to yourself and your gut feelings. 🙂 We need to do that more; listen to ourselves and our bodies and genuine thoughts.

Living at the ocean sounds magnificent – I know that’s where Mark and I want to find a retirement home. Not sure which city, but just somewhere overlooking the Pacific. We spent Labor Day at the beach – just found ourselves a nice, quiet spot and sat for hours, watching the waves, the sea lions, cormorants, dolphins, gulls, and pelicans. It’s so very grounding and meditative, and there’s nothing else like it.

Perhaps you actually are an “age in place” type of person, but need to gypsy around until you find the right “place” in which to age! It has to be just so. 🙂 I hope you have found your place – but if not, I know you will someday! This will be an adventure nonetheless.

Best of luck in this new chapter – and definitely keep us updated with how you like it! A good friend visits Gearhart and that loooong stretch of beach every year (and we’ve gone with them before), so perhaps we’ll meet in person someday! xoxo


17 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 11:54 am

Thank you Veronica! Your labor day weekend sounds magnificent–I so agree the beach is grounding and meditative–and that there’s nothing else quite like it. Thanks, too, for support about my particular style of aging in place. . .yes, it DOES have to be just so. . .:) It seems to be encouraging Romeo to kick up his senior heels a bit too, so that’s a very good sign. I love Gerhardt–that’s where we were on my birthday–I am south of there now, but yes, the possiblity that we will meet in person someday is gathering momentum–and maybe even on the beach!! xoxo


18 Teresa September 6, 2016 at 11:03 am

Finding your post felt serendipitous! I felt the excitement you described and am so excited for you! I love Oregon and it’s glorious coast. So happy you took a leap and listened to your heart =)


19 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 11:48 am

Thank you, Teresa! It’s such a beautiful place, isn’t it? Even in the rain. . .<3


20 Linda September 6, 2016 at 11:12 am

Oh Maria, Lovely story to match the mood of this time of all things are possible. Love and Light, Linda


21 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 11:46 am

Yes, my friend! Thank you!love and light back to you, always–


22 Nancy Hampel September 6, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I am so happy for you, Maria. And it came about with such grace. I am tingling. I am on a similar journey of opening to all kinds of possibility. I looked at a cabin in the woods last week complete with mountain views and a stream near Fernwood. I don’t think it is the place, but there is a place, like yours, where Zeus and I can go and be in nature and in great peace. It may even be overseas! Much love to you dear lady.


23 Maria Theresa Maggi September 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Dear Nancy–oh how I love this comment–especially the two oh my goshes at the beginning, because I can hear your voice saying it! Thank you for reading and responding here, my friend. And yes, there IS a place out there for you and Zeus to go and be in nature and in great peace. Holdiing that truth with you. Keep me posted. All the possibilities sound so exciting! And of course if you pass through here and I am here, you two can walk on the beach with us. Much love back to you, too, dear lady. 🙂


24 Jane Sturgeon September 7, 2016 at 1:35 am

Dear Maria, what a wonderful piece of writing and bless you for following your heart. The Universe ‘yelled’ this next step to you and there is magic in these moments. Much love flowing to you in this next chapter and for following your heart, <3 xXx


25 Maria Theresa Maggi September 7, 2016 at 9:27 am

Dear Jane–thank you!! I love how you put all this. Much love and magic back to you as well. <3


26 Donna Betts September 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

Thank you — and Congratulations for creating your miracle.
Your experience is stirring my soul…


27 Maria Theresa Maggi September 7, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Thank you Donna–what an honor 🙂 xo


28 Debra Maslov September 8, 2016 at 6:28 am

Maria, congratulations on your wonderful new beach home & courageous new path! May you continue to sleep better & flourish in your dream environment. I am delighted for you & look forward to your future musings & adventures!


29 Maria Theresa Maggi September 8, 2016 at 10:36 am

Thank you Debra! I so appreciate the lovely well wishes and your faithful reading! xo


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