Monday’s Meanders: Never Too Much Beach Time

Horsewoman pausing after maneuvers at Cannon Beach; Haystack Rock looms behind them. (All photos Cynthia Guenther Richardson copyright 2020)

I know, I posted on the Pacific Ocean not long ago. But it was Marc’s birthday last week and that is where he wanted to be–so off we went, about a 2 hour drive. We ended up at spots we often enjoy: Manzanita, Hug Point, and Cannon Beach.

Manzanita is a favorite place with 7 miles of beach (and the home of a fine bookstore, Cloud & Leaf). It is the area that inspired past Governor Oswald West to determine that Oregon beaches should be free and public–thankfully! We’ve had many overnight visits at the comfortable Inn at Manzanita, and recommend it. We tend to cook simple meals when we vacation (or order pizza) but I hear there are excellent eateries, also; cute shops line the one main street–now only a few are open with limited hours.

Since this was a day trip, we got out there to avail ourselves of windswept sands, walking much of it. The wind across the beach created fantastic patterns. From some of my viewpoints it seemed an near-alien landscape.

View after leaving Manzanita.

Our next stop was Hug Point State Park, a wayside with short beach many well enjoy once discovered. The rock formations are interesting, there are caves in the sandstone headlands/cliffs and tide pools, as well as a small waterfall. The tide was coming in when we arrived so didn’t explore as much as we hoped. I also will admit I was slowed some after foolishly stepping right into a hole while clicking the camera; this was on a paved path so landed hard, though I rolled to avoid cracking bones, on a thigh and hip. No harm done but was pretty sore!)

The view from the path before I fell over.

Though we began in Cannon Beach, I am ending this post there. A much more touristy spot, it has always had that beautiful long beach with Haystack Rock–and many attractive shops and good restaurants (none of which we visited last wk.).

Ecola Creek’s fresh water mixes it up in sea water at the north end of beach.
This athletic youngster was honing his skills, no doubt hoping to some day try big waves like the wet-suited surfer…
Several headland climbers–something I’d do if not inexperienced at 70…
An easy way to fly a kite.
A pelican getting a meal…I think!
Leaving groups of people and Haystack Rock behind–until next time.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: What Is a Dream or Not

Image: NASA

They sleep as the noise of life mutes

and who knows how they lie down

or company they keep, or

what borderless countries nest inside the jumbled brain.

They each gather secrets like

food for the famished, markers for mapping.

They stir a netherworld with gasps,

fingers clutching sheets, mouths innocent.

I have gotten close to them

out there where we meet. Dream passersby.

Masses that crowd nebulous snowy back roads.

By a lapis sea circling crystalline mountains.

In the markets, tiny stalls billowing

with beauty and oddities, our hands happy.

Streets like puzzles. The night a hologram.

But fights happen there, too:

the free and cunning grab power

while unfree bloodied give it up as

human agency runs out of steam.

Even the brave sometimes cannot find

a door to an ancient portal to newer worlds

and fall, rise, fall. No one is always heroic.

Still, we sleep on and float and wrestle,

half-wake with stories unraveling.

And yet there remain beyond the blue deep

a trillion unknown pulsars,

magnetized, radiating, spinning.

And so why not angels keeping guard,

a glowing personage for everyone? or more?

Inside the opalescence I search is a beacon

like a pulsar-guardian

and fear drops away with gravity

so life which is love is not forsaken

or blasted or misread or forgotten.

It lives. It acts. It liberates as

I travel without thinking, with less pain,

and minus remembrance of every loss.

So it may be for all other sleepers,

though some do forget upon rising,

knowledge like a flaming flower gone to ash.

Still, the open passage of dawn to day

takes us back into soft and jagged silences,

into whorls of talk, a measure of longing.

We walk. We talk.

Our eyes frame one another,

we nod and wonder:

who was that, what did I recognize?

An eternal memory of the

aging and young, well and lame,

lost and found, those who cannot bear

or bother to look up– yet sense kinship like

the telling energy of the animate.

And this: we each are one more link to God,

our lives a chalice for sacredness.

You doubt? I believe doubly.

Is it, you say, a dream that carries me off…

or is it a necessary truth recalled?

The universe is made of such potent things.

We may reclaim them here, now.

Wednesday’s Words/Flash Fiction: Dangerous Life

“You’ll break your neck!”

That’s what she said when informed he was taking windsurfing lessons for his 59th birthday.

She nearly wept; his legs, badly injured in the war. She got him cargo shorts, a fly fishing guide. Neither was what he needed: a major jolt. The old ways no longer satisfied. He’d watched the windsurfers; they inspired him as nothing else in years. It was his turn out there.

“What do you know of that river, its winds?”

He knew some things and wanted more. Trouble was, her adrenaline had been waylaid, passions dampened by defeatist views.

Still, friends cautioned him: age, dangers.

His strength and resolve grew.

When he at last hit water, then sailed, freedom from years of her worry and his subterranean fear arrived. Not easy; not disappointing. He fully awakened.

Finally, he turned back.

Only then did he see her with fists raised in victory.

Monday’s Meander: Elk Rock Garden of Bishop’s Close

Once or twice a year I post about this graceful, fully accessible garden spread over 13 acres. It changes wonderfully over seasons and displays a fascinating mix of botanical life. The house was built in 1914 by a Scottish businessman, Peter Kerr, to resemble a Scottish manor. It was built along the Willamette River to also give a good view of Mt. Hood in the distance. At his death in 1957, his daughters decided to give it to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon, with a provisory clause that the garden be open to visitors.

Wandering there gives rise to deep peace. Join Marc and me as we stroll about on a recent visit.

Outdoor altar for the Holy Eucharist, for staff at the Diocese ; it is covered in kiwi vine.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Among the Others

It was this: gauzy breath of things, a wild perfume

settled on grass and leaf, and whirring wings about me,

the wash of light sheer raiment falling to earth.

Saltwater marsh, wetland woods, mudflats spread out.

Stepping down the path, heart’s beat pulling me along,

and different tattoos of footprints wound about stones.

Mountains rose up, far off as loved ones.

The tableau revealed the paucity of what I knew

and was trying to learn but always, a simpler woman stirred.

Water rested, shone of myriad worlds above,

below, beyond to deeper, deepest waters. The greenest life.

I was as a twin, outside while also still myself:

to sense all that drank, rested, snarled, predated,

slipped into murky green and blue, fur and hooves,

tails and claws that flew and teeth that tore and ears

that pricked long before any small knowing

came to such as myself, a lesser being,

neophyte of nature’s finer absolutes.

Struck dumb by love for all I do not comprehend,

lost to amazement again–I took it in, held it close

Elderberries, bear-berries, salal berries

leaned this way and that. And my legs went weak

as I recalled their bounty meant for wild things.

Day’s revealing light began to cool,

water lulled each side of a narrow path.

No sound followed but a sigh from within

family of grasses, scrunch of bushes.

Trees gathered up shadows and light

like gatekeepers of that country.

But I felt the others. Tell me not otherwise,

they were there and noses lifted, paws stilled,

ears came awake–

black bears, a cougar or bobcat and coyote.

And this was not–despite my adoration–

our common hunting ground.

Not my moody sky to cover

my differentness in the coming night.