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 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.

This Monday’s Post Has Already Departed for the Beach!



We’re off to luxuriate in blue skies and sunshine, leisurely days and evenings and a little exploration–much needed since Marc has been travelling a lot for work, as usual. We do still miss each other (even at this point in married life) after awhile! Plus, it’s his birthday present, not saying for which one, out of loving respect. 🙂 Hope you readers can create time to enjoy yourselves and loved ones, too. I’ll be back with more pictures and words by Wednesday or Friday, depending on timing (and perhaps how very relaxed I become on the trip…)

May blessings surround you; may peace visit all.

Cannon Beach-Astoria-Lg Beach, 5-17 486


Friday’s Passing Fancies: Classic Car Fever


Lots can happen during one of our favorite beach getaways in Yachats, Oregon besides walking miles of salt water-saturated sand and looking for whale spouts: mountainous hikes, tide pool explorations, ogling art at a fine group of small galleries, sipping a cup at the aromatic, conversation-humming coffee shop with its mixture of townies and tourists, sharing tales and easy silence around a crackling beach bonfire or catching a Celtic music festival.

And then there are car shows, which I always stop and see. My father loved to tinker cars, especially older or small foreign ones. I hung around him whenever I could in the driveway as he repaired various things under the hoods. He’d don his greasy coveralls, get out his toolbox ad concentrate, while twisting, banging, yanking, connecting. I’d run for more tools or polish things up. I didn’t learn all that much about the intricacies of their engines, unfortunately. It was more about the beauty of the machine, from rims to innards to worn or refurbished interiors–and hanging out with my busy father.

There was a classic car show going on at the edge of the village. It was smaller, maybe less high end than some I’ve checked out. But it still showed off a variety of finely-tuned  and polished beauties.

Nothing like wandering on a sunny afternoon a few yards from rolling ocean waves, studying gleaming paint and chrome. These cars were loved by folks enough to pour money and heart and time  into so it would be a proud specimen, a brash or elegant nod to the past of the USA’s automobile history. What a thrill to see what fruits the art and science of restoration can bear!

I saw a 1966 Mustang that brought back memories of cruising along the streets in my hometown with a guy I sure did like. But the one of my youth was turquoise and somehow the one at the beach did not hold a candle to it, so it didn’t make the cut here.

You’ll notice there was a lotus pond on the grounds of the motel where it was held. I’ll save those shots for another time but will throw in a picture of the Pacific Ocean. I did have a bit of trouble getting the photos I really wanted, as people milled about and vehicles were parked so close to each other.

What a scrumptious week-end! Enjoy a few of the moments!

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I Ran Away on Mother’s Day

I ran away to the Oregon coast on Mother’s Day week-end.

I am not so fond of this day that singles out and demands we pay attention to mothers. For one thing, I think when mothers are loved, they know it. There are a multitude of signs families provide all year long, their deep affection expressed in comments, a touch or a look, small gifts of time and random treasures offered. The day commercializes what should be a celebration any old day. I believe random acts of love are better than ones that happen on a calendar basis.

But the main reason is that this day is a time of melancholy reflection for me. A longing rises up and grabs hold of me hard. Tears soften my vision and I pause.

My mother died a few days before Mother’s Day in 2001. The funeral home viewing was held on the date meant to enjoy our living mothers. I remember most her hands from that day. In peculiar repose when I knew them so intimately as hands that created and worked every day, they were still lovely. She lived a robust, demanding life into her nineties and was possessed of a quick mind, a vivid imagination and a generous soul. Only when she could abide no more discomfort did she slip out of flesh and bones.

I still miss her, as daughters always do miss their mothers when fortunate enough to be loved by them. To have shared stories with them that last long after the leavetaking.

So off I went to the sea. Edna Kelly Guenther did not like water very much, at least not moving, spirited water. From a distance she admired its power; she could not swim and feared drowning. But I am drawn to it in every form and when the forest gathers around it, I am pulled even more. My husband and I have been staying in humble, old-fashioned cottages near Yachats, the emerald coast village, for twenty years. We were happy to return last week-end.

Every year I do things in memory of my mother’s dauntless curiosity and joie de vivre. She was fascinated by natural history, botany, entomology, and geology as well as the creative and domestic arts. As I roamed, observed, rested and hiked I felt her presence. It was a soul-satisfying time, even with bittersweet moments.

On childhood trips we stopped at wooden bridges often. This one was built in 1918, 9 yrs. after my mother was born. The wind in the trees and the river made gentle sounds.

Wild iris on one of the trails. Her favorite flower.

A strong athlete in her youth, she would have been as impressed as I by the wind surfers.

At Cape Perpetua, a look-out built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Depression. She loved the grandeur of nature.

She’d have found this visually interesting, and wondered over the great distances wood travels before adorning the sand.
I can see her place her index finger on her lips and gaze at the horizon: more presence of God, she would have thought. Like me.

We sang the old songs for you, mom, like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” I love you.