This week on the Oregon Coast was a ping pong match between angry storms and calm clear skies. In a span of 30 minutes the weather has gone from a cloudless blue sky with enough sun to offer a tan over too thunderclaps, heavy rain, and hail and then swapped back just as quickly. This cycle has gone on day by day, making wardrobe planning pretty difficult. In Oregon, you really should always have long sleeves and always have short-sleeves. If you haven’t become ok with getting rained on, it’s wise to always have a rain jacket too. But, sometimes you just want to go with one thing and feel like you got it right.
One of the differences I’ve noticed about moving to a new climate that is a very subtle thing, but grows into something large is the difference in sounds. Just now I heard what I think is one solitary frog (possibly a cricket) somewhere outside the house. This is a noise in the South that would be one of the biggest signals that summer was nearing, but it would be millions and millions of them from every direction. Here, the sound of the ocean is constant, the wind is rarely completely still. These are things we refer to as background noises, they are rarely in the forefront of our thoughts. Once it is familiar, we notice it about as much as our socks or our undershirt. But, a sound can bring on a rush of memory, something we didn’t even know we had in there.
The first signs of Spring are present this week as sprouts have emerged, and green buds showing up on some trees and bushes. Allyson and I were out for a Saturday walk, and we noted how the landscape was already beginning to change. Earlier in the week, I saw the first signs of this Summer’s huckleberries in the form of little white blooms. I’ve felt myself slowing down a bit during my walks back and forth through camp. I’m watching the tops of the trees, letting the wind gusts push me a little, I’m trying to absorb the feelings, the smells, the sounds.
Bald Eagles have been more active lately. I hear them nearly every time I’m outside. They are basically a bad ass sounding seagull. We have to be careful with Digby out, because they are known to take small animals. As a house warming gift, our good friends Danielle and Amanda sent us a care package, and one of the featured items was a dog harness that they had attached tacks to with a hot glue gun. It was Digby’s eagle-proof harness. They are certainly at the top of the bird food chain here. While I was running on the beach, I watched an eagle poach food from some seagulls who weren’t very happy about it, but couldn’t do much about it either.
Allyson and I had our first free Saturday home in over a month this week, after picking up a new chair, getting prescription cat food, and walking at Kilchis Point, we spent the evening at the bowling alley. I don’t know exactly what the conditions were that caused this, but my first round I scored 165, one of the highest scores I’ve ever bowled. We returned home, and Allyson learned how to play Dancing in the Dark on the guitar while I built a fire. I feel like I’ll look back on evenings like this decades from now feeling pleased at the life Allyson and I are building together. It’s one I’ll look back on when I’m older, wishing that my youth had moved a little slower, that I could slow those times down and savor them longer.
I got a facebook message from Danielle this week with a link to a news story about a coyote-proof dog vest. It looked fairly similar to Digby’s eagle proof harness. I told Danielle that someone had clearly lifted her design, and that she should have taken out a patent on it. She was impressed enough by the purple sparklers that she wasn’t mad. It’s crazy in life how one moment someone is making a hilarious joke, and just down the road someone is looking at it as the answer to their problems in all seriousness. Sometimes we make inspirational progress as we move through to the future, sometimes we just make someone’s joke a reality.
I’ve been in Oregon over a year now, and I’m still trying to figure out what life now feels like. Nearly every day I wonder if I’m getting to know this place better, how far along I am in that journey, and how I will look back on it all. There are moments when I catch myself in these thought processes and encourage myself just to do my best to be in them, that memories are formed best when you haven’t thought too much about exactly what they should be. But, they aren’t just memories yet, I’m still in the middle of all this. What an exciting realization, that the future, for now, will still hold some of these wonderful things in the present. We will likely have this again. We will get to live something very similar. We must be sure to try to slow it down too, just some time to savor.