Monday’s Meander: The Sea at Yachats

The Pacific Ocean was moody over that week-end, and it seemed prescient when looking back since our time was cut short by a significant car accident. And yet it always displays a vast array of weather, with the skies changing in a few moments, the sea reflecting wind and light with a mercurial response. I offer you a selection of photos that show you what I saw over the course of about 42 hours.

Some show the hike above Cape Perpetua before our happiness was suddenly taxed. Others were taken about Smelt Sands where tidepools and basalt rocks dominate and we like to climb and explore. And a few more exhibit views of where we stayed at Wayside Lodge, a few rooms and cottages. A favorite place to stay–attractive, homey lodgings with excellent customer care. Yachats is not represented here though it is a quaint village full of creative people. I have spent little time there over decades of visits– other than to grab a bite and a coffee at Green Salmon Coffee House, or to check out some art and books, at times. (Visit Earthworks Gallery outside of town, too– a great place for ceramics, glassworks, handmade wood furniture and jewelry.)

It is always about the ocean and beyond, wide sky above and forested peaks, the sandy beach and bluffs that I\we seek. The beauty and power and peace of it all.

Below, hanging out at Smelt Sands State Park. When the whales migrate, this is a good place from which to see them. The sea was pretty quiet then, and the tide, low. There is also a good trail to walk.

The hike is always good up on part of the larger Cape Perpetua Scenic Recreation Area. The headland that rises 800 feet above sea level is the highest point one can overlook the Pacific on OR. coast by car. We enjoy taking to s ome trails –there are 26 miles of them!–that wind around the headland, through temperate forested land. The views are spectacular of the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. You can see a horizon 40 miles out on a clear day. Enjoy a slide show of part of our exploration.

The next two photos were taken earlier in the morning as we sat on our little deck relaxing. We enjoyed coffees as we took in the scene. I tried to eat about a third of a pound or more blueberry lemon scone…I think Marc had a cheese croissant…delicious!

The final few pictures are of our last morning–sunny at last–as we awaited out daughter to come get us (my car is inoperable) and return us home in the Portland area. We are grateful to have had a day and a half in Yachats area before the accident. Though we are dealing with some ill effects, we take it day by day. This, too, shall pass… We’ll likely return to the beach before the rains come (we need rain now!), but we admire the coast and ocean in winter, too!

Monday’s Meander: Crystal Springs in the Heat Of Summer

Each season embodies exquisite offerings and certain places show them off well. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a good example. I visit this garden in SE Portland three or four times a year. By Mid-July, the rhodies’ and azaleas’ bright, voluptuous blossoms are gone, but other native flowers, abundant greenery about the spring-fed Crystal Springs Lake and many waterfowl (some varieties were “missing”–migration, perhaps?) bring beauty to the fore and entice many visitors.

Once a test garden, the first rhododendron was planted in 1917; there are now over 2500 varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants, all of which were donated (or bought with monetary donations). Rocks used for water features and other displays came from Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Gently winding pathways make for a leisurely walk through lush landscaping. Weddings also can be conducted on the property–a reception was about to commence as I walked through. (Temptation was strong to take photos of the elegantly dressed women and men…but privacy, after all!)

I hope you find the sights as delightful as I did firsthand. I will return in autumn if not before.

Another peaceful outing that made a good difference in an ongoing journey of healing from life’s bruises…even as they seem to keep coming. Have a week of similar good moments if you can.

Friday’s Poem: At the Refuge

Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

First this: brazen bolts of sound

as a multitude of geese strike the right

formation, alarm punctuating sky yet

harbored in a common beauty.

And the order of things alters

as the eagle rises to the hunt

so easy, magnificent.

One more joins, and I stay the urge

to salute or fall on my knees.

It is that tapestry of wild calls,

of bones within feathers like

an architecture of life, of power. Survival.

And then comes a rough-skinned salamander,

auburn and sleek atop dirt, beady eyed, prepared.

I do not touch even with careful toe of boot.

It is sleekness wrapped in poisonous skin.

A pencil-thin, stripey garter snake nestles

between moss and grass,

slips lithe and invisible into harmony

beneath an ancient white oak.

Great branches snag me as my eyes move upward,

lifts my soul to its crown; I am held in its breath,

am granted one spell of peace.

Frogs along the path like country singers,

sing sonorous measures in starts and stops–

a comedy routine, the telegraphed news.

Most of all, this great blue heron.

It stirs from riverbed before I hear it.

Leaps from water, rising with heartstopping wings

in a miracle of elegance and strength,

glides past clouds of winter

to light that spills into this day.

I think of it: laying on its fine back,

moving past edges of this world without falling.

I cannot say more of why this brings me to tears.

I am given this afternoon where

many beings show themselves and

the wetlands let me pass through, and

groves of oaks watch over, naked and unafraid,

and sunlight kind as compassion rests on my skin…

this earth so generous with blessings,

may I not ever, may I not ever forget.

Monday’s (Dream) Meander: The Gem of Yachats

Ah, what a picture of simple pleasure, even innocence. And good Yachats, how I long to see you!

I am dreaming of travel, any kind of small rambles, as I remain captive indoors here in Clackamas County, OR. It has been 7 days since Oregon’s catastrophic fires began to rage closer to our home and seriously threatening the county I live in. In fact, there have been 40,000 evacuated people, many of whom have lost their homes already in this county; 500,000 in all of Oregon have been evacuated; ten confirmed deaths with a dozen more persons missing at this time in Clackamas Co. The air quality is so hazardous–Portland metro’s is reportedly the world’s worst now– we are strongly advised to not leave our homes (those who have dwellings still).

So I have not set foot outdoors yet, though our suburban city (set among woodlands) is no longer on alert to evacuate since yesterday–a small mercy. I unpacked my “GO bags” finally this afternoon, a bit uncertain but trusting our experts. The constant barrage of images and news is hard to hear and see. Below is one terrible shot of the devastation not so far away. Some fires have been contained now; many others yet burn on and spread.

(Image on left: AP Photo/Paula Bronstein. Image on right: citizen Dale Voris, from car.)

Even large areas of Oregon’s Pacific coast lands (and of course, California…) have been aflame. But I believe beautiful Yachats has remained safe and in good shape. I’ll visit there today with you via photos from a trip in 2016. Most important, too, is remembering the wonders of Oregon, and that we’ve had many bad fires each year as this is part of living in the Pacific Northwest. Just not like this conflagration of 35 fires that have ravaged 1 million acres, so far. It is inconceivable to me.

You can see I have mixed feelings: relief and worry; gratitude and some lingering fear; hopefulness and sorrow. And I keep thinking of the people whose lives have been altered beyond recognition, some lives having been lost. And , as ell, the fleeing and harmed wildlife. Someone I know heard a cougar roar outside her bedroom window in the night. Yes, we live that close to these creatures and many others.

But at least here on WordPress we can take in a breath of fresh air, even when it happens with memories sparked via pictures. I value these even more today.

The village is a favorite because it is less touristy and gentler in mood, and I am fully absorbed by nature’s charms–which is always my first and last priority when I am not in the city. But no matter where I go–like so many– I enjoy cultural attractions, shopping a bit, savoring tasty food at cafes/restaurants. A local good place for coffee, baked goods and sandwiches is the Green Salmon. Another favorite stop is Earthworks Gallery. Many favorite pieces of jewelry have been found there over the years. This village lures artists of all mediums in residence. I can see why they end up staying…

I will get back to the green and the waves and the forest trails, the wildlife and open sky. Patience, I counsel myself. Faith in nature’s remarkable ability to regenerate. Even with such glaring evidence of climate change as these fires, there remain possibilities to improve things. I know environmentalists and others are working hard on it. We must–so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren may well inhabit and revere an earth they can yet call home territory.

Monday’s Meander: Hello, Oceanside!

For 28 years, I have immersed myself in the pleasures of this stretch of Oregon coast. I fell in love with the village of Oceanside–tucked into a hillside–shortly after moving to this state. One of my sisters long owned a vacation home on Whiskey Creek Road not far away; another family member still owns a second home at another village, Netarts, a stone’s throw from Oceanside.

Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge

Marc and I have stayed for long week-ends many times–but not this year. Thankfully, we take plenty of day trips. I posted a few pictures in July along with other beaches. Here is a fresh batch from a visit last Friday. I hope you like visiting with me! (There may be a few spots on photos where salt spray landed–I missed a few on my lens…)

Top of a headland.

I hadn’t climbed up the rocks in awhile and so made my way through goose barnacles at Maxwell Point. They live on rock in inter tidal zones. I don’t want to kill any, but likely you know some sea life can inflict painful scratches if a hand or other part of skin gets scrapes–and are prone to infection. (Had one once that took weeks to heal.)

Three of my views, below.

This tunnel was made by an early 20th century family as part of plans for a fancy resort. That didn’t work out–but it’s still used to connect the main beach to a smaller one. The falling rocks can be a hazard, but the trip to the other side well worth it. Agates can be found there, there are small caves to explore and other sea gifts.

Once emerged, this is the south side of beach. When the tide is extremely low, one can walk around the Point, at left. There is a rather large cave around the corner, unseen here due to higher tide.

The man and his sons below were having great fun–and that water is not warm!

Below is the other end of the lovely beach–some call it “Star Wars” due to the geological formations.

One good way to get to that area is over a huge piece of rock. But the tide was lower, so I walked in waters around it.

Lots of bird colonies–one reason why it is a protected area.
Castle by the sea
Back on the other side where more people tend to congregate.
Farewell, Oceanside-until we meet again.

On the way home, more sights to savor…

Dairy country and Tillamook Mountains on way back up and onward.
The diversity and beauty of nature is succor to the soul.