Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Sea bashes shoreline,
Cries let me be, let me in,
Stay here forever.
AND here we are, the last day of May 2015. Winter has wandered away, we just sprang through spring, and summer is racing up on us in the Pacific Northwest.
I had a healthful two day dose of Vitamin Sea this week. It was very much needed and well deserved. When I was young my family went to the coast every year, if not for a day trip, for a week of camping. Often my uncle and his family, and my paternal grandparents joined us. We’d get two or three campsites together and have our mini-community within the campground. Us kids got to gather and carry the wood for campfires, we did K-P duty as well, and still had lots of time for play.
I like to make sure the ocean is still there every year if I can, and the only way to do that is go there and walk on it. A friend from grade school was interested and we made arrangements for a motel with ocean view, a balcony patio, beach access, two queen beds, and a heated pool and hot tub on-site.
I am probably the world’s worst traveler, and an even worse camper. I am a creature of comfort and I have a narrow zone that has little room for variation. I pack for an over-nighter as if I’m going to be gone a week just so I have all the stuff I need to be comfortable. (For example, I had 5 pairs of shoes with me: sport shoes for walking, swim clogs for back and forth to the pool, swim flip-flops to wear while wet in the pool area, strap-on sturdy sandals for walking when it’s warm out, and bedroom slippers for stripped down evening coziness; I used them all.) I’m a bed wiggler and snorer, sensitive to light, sound, air flow, temperature, odor, and the feel of bedding materials. I did pretty well, considering all, and the journey is deemed a delightfully successful adventure.
I breathed fresh sea air in great greedy gulps. We had two glorious weather days of mild temperatures and fresh breezes. No rain and heavy wind, no fog, nor drizzle to which the Oregon coast is prone. Our room was comfortable, clean (though there was a deficit of trash receptacles), and did not smell like musty sea rot like some places I’ve stayed. The vehicle presented no challenges: no flat tires, engine stalls, or running out of gas.
We swam before dinner, and spent a leisurely morning in our room watching the ocean through our patio door, sharing some fresh Oregon Hood strawberries and Wisconsin cheese curds and other finger foods we’d brought for breakfast, and more of the steady stream of stories we had in us. We prepared for a day of prowling art galleries and junk stores.
Our restaurant meals were acceptable, though not exceptional. We found several art galleries and junk/gift shops we browsed through. We found a few little treasures in the shops we browsed and spent a little money contributing to the support, income, and welfare of the citizens of the many communities we visited. We visited the whale museum in Depoe Bay and the Memorial for Fishermen Lost at Sea at Yaquina Head.
Highlight of the tour was happening along Boiler Bay as a pod of whales were playing. In more than 50 years of visiting the Oregon coast I have never seen whales. I believe there was a mother and a calf, and likely more in the pod. I captured a couple of spouts and the tiniest strip of whale back in digital. Only I would ever know the little black strip in the sea of blue was a whale back, but I know.
My singular goal was to put my feet upon the sand of the seashore and I finally walked on the sand. We did not like the beach access from our motel as there was a long stretch of really soft sand before getting to the harder sand by the water. Both of us use canes to prevent falling now, so we were wary. We searched the Lincoln County coastline for easy access to the harder sand near the water, and we were not clever enough to find one.
The beach I used was near the end of our tour. We were running out of time and I suggested we pull into a beach both of us had camped at in our youth with our families. Of course it was completely changed and the easy access we remembered was gone. The path from the parking area went under Highway 101, a bridge we both remembered spanning a large creek that flows to the ocean. But the bridge was under construction and that was creepy: bridge a foot above our heads, shored up by four by fours bolted to the rusty steel pilings, covered in plastic and tyvek noisily flapping in the wind, surrounded by bright yellow caution tape, all the traffic on 101 flying by right above our heads at 55 MPH. The beach access on the other side of the creek looked easier but it was completely blocked off for safety.
Once we got under the bridge, and spied what was ahead, my friend declined to go further. Access included a major decline and corresponding dune climb, and a large area of soft sand before getting to the water’s edge. It was my last chance to walk on the sand so I pressed on, taking my sandals off at the top of the decline so I could use every muscle of my feet and every fiber of my body to feel the earth.
The decline was aggregate, slippery with sand, and steep. I baby stepped down with my cane. The dune was soft. I took my time, not falling being more important than how long my beach walk took. The sand was like pea gravel, much rougher than granulated sugar, and not satiny smooth like some I’ve been on. I walked out and touched my toes in the water then walked back a bit to go south along the beach toward a large rock outcropping overshadowing some tide pools. A man was doing yoga on the top of the rock, a climb I never even conceived of even in my youth.
The walk was lovely. The sand was rough the whole way, brusquely massaging the soft insoles of my feet. The sand was soft to walk on even by the water, never really getting hard like finer sand does, giving way under each step so each step had to be taken with care. My aging body does not bounce like when I was a child and I could walk and fall on the sand and never get hurt or experience much pain from the fall. The air was soft as the sun sat obliquely above the water, the wind mild, the sun and sand warm, in all it was a most refreshing hour.
The sea hath its pearls, and as always, I scouted for agates, stones, and seashells. I’m such a magpie (OOOH, shiny!) I look for sea glass too. I found a white/clear agate, part of a nautilus sea shell, and a bit of sea softened green glass. When I got home and cleaned them out of my pocket, the agate was sticky and turned out to be a tiny dead jelly fish. Eww, into the trash. Good thing I selfishly did not give the agate to my friend, which I had considered doing.
The ocean is still there, long may it live freer from the damages of mankind; I hope we can rescue it from the damage we’ve done. Considering my challenges in traveling I thought it a wonderful, sixty-one-derful tour of the beach. I’d like to go again before I’m 62 and find another beach with easier access and finer sand. My old reliable easy access is in Tillamook County at Happy Camp on Netarts Bay, but I am inspired to new places I’ve not seen for a while. May have to look north to Rockaway Beach or Manzanita or Seaside for my next dose of Vitamin Sea.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods (across the Cascades) this week – coastal treasures: a peachy apricot rose at the Freed Gallery; a pink striped clematis in front of the Freed Gallery; a flounder stepping stone at the Freed gallery; whale and fish sculpture outside at the Freed Gallery; purple and pink wildflowers I’m not familiar with; a climbing vine with tiny white star-flowers; a bush with little pinked crimson blossoms; magenta tipped sea pines; the sea browns and greens of sea weeds and kelp; flowery ruffled pink and green sea weed bits; a sea bush with shiny green leaves and peculiar red dots on the leaves; three relatively passable bird pictures, the crow, the required seagull, and a little brown pretty; a rhododendron taller than my head before the blooming branches; bell shaped fairy pink salal.
Currently Reading – Vanessa and Her Sister (2014, fiction) by Priya Parmar; 5 Steps to Professional Presence: How to Project Confidence, Competence, and Credibility at Work (2001, business communications) by Susan Bixler; Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (2015, sociology) by Johann Hari. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- A paid week off work. Marking a few things off my to-do list for the week. And getting rest the rest of the time.
- Lovely late spring moderate weather for my week off work.
- Still being able to move into all the positions it takes to wax the spring fuzz off my legs.
- My best moment so far of recent purging efforts: discarding all the old student loan bills accept the three acknowledging payment in full. Redundant, but proof of the waste of our tax dollars.
- My friend who did the driving on the coast tour. Yup, I’m not a great driver either.
- The affectionate sweet love and warm fuzzy feelings between long-time friends.
- Finding a couple cute Christmas presents in a little shop we found. For the holiday that shows up all too soon every year.
- Discovering and falling in love with the artwork of William Margetson (1861-1940). It’s not often artwork calls to me but I am in a swoon over his women, especially his women by the sea.
- Enjoying my morning espresso in my new outdoor chair. Inhaling the sweet fragrance of clover, freshly cut grass, and cow manure wafting gently from the nearby fields in my semi-rural community. Cow manure smells like wealth to me indicating livestock ownership, fertile farmlands, and fresh milk, butter, and cheese.
- Enjoying the twilight birds’s syncopated twitterpation in my new outdoor chair as darkness rises around us.
- Watching bats dancing the bug boogaloo from my new outdoor chair.
- Not being allergic to most pollens.
- Open doors and sweet smelling unpolluted air.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch