There are weeks that reinforce, and then there are weeks that reorient. For so many weeks, we’ve seen more rain than sunshine on the coast, but this week the tables turned. It was sunny nearly every day, and I’m not sure we saw a drop of rain. Seeing this place bathed in warm sunlight is like those moments you notice someone you love in a of special light, and you find yourself falling in love with them all over again.
I was offered a preview this week the absolute beauty of an Oregon Coast summer. I had memories from a year ago rush back to me that I didn’t even realize I was missing. The purposefully slow walks to get from one place to another at camp to admire the spruce, cedar, and pine needles waving in front of a blue sky backdrop. The pauses to watch the songbirds, wondering about heir business in that particular moment above my head. The daily pilgrimage to the ocean to watch light fade, marking another spin of the Earth in my fortunate time here.
The evening runs are getting more enjoyable and less harrowing. This is partially because I’m getting into better shape, partially the warmer temps, partially the lower risk I’ll be pelted by rain and hail, but also for the breathtaking views constantly in my periphery as I run north to Rockaway, then south back to my home. There are moments I must stop my run just to stand and gaze at what the ocean is doing below the setting sun. In a run, you generally want to hold a steady pace, keep the heart rate constant for the best cardio workout. But, there are times when you run outdoors that you should stop yourself and just admire the world you are running through. I recall days when I ran the hiking trails of the State Park next to Lakeshore, as I topped the tall ridge behind Pilot’s Knob that looked out over the Tennessee River. The sun was setting, the sky turned purple, orange, and red. I was out of breath too, but I was going to stop either regardless for a site like this. You shouldn’t just run by these things without offering proper appreciation, snapping more of mental picture to take with you.
On my lunch break Wednesday, I woofed down my meal in the camp dining hall, because I felt drawn out into the weather and the views of the coastal range gradually turning greener with sky blue above mirrored by the lake below. I went out onto the swim dock, shed my shoes, and sat out for about 20 minutes, reminding my skin what the sun feels like. I heard an eagle, then saw it fly over the lake, landing in a tall spruce on the mountain. Two other eagles soon joined. I thought of the days to come that would be spent out on this dock by me and so many others, marveling at the beauty we have framed right in front of us. The lake, the mountain, the trees, the blue sky, the marine layer of clouds that roll in from the ocean catching themselves on the tops of our hills. I know this is a sight that will be held in my memory my whole life. It will be a place I know very deeply. Days like this will be ones I go back to when I remember the fondest times of my life.
Monday evening Allyson and I went out to the beach to watch the sunset. It cool and windy, not the most comfortable conditions to stand out in the open watching something. We backtracked into the tree line, finding a spot with an opening to the beach that still had enough coverage to block the winds. There we sat and watched the sun disappear over the ocean. This was a daily routine before sunsets got so early and the rainy season made it pretty impossible to see. The calendar is turning and a new cycle of routines are returning. I love being brought back in touch with the world this way.
Saturday, Allyson and I woke relatively early for a free Saturday and went to the dock behind Sherlock Lodge to meet a few staff from outdoor school. Allyson led us in a yoga session. The morning sun and the activity made it just warm enough out there. As I did these poses and got in touch with my breath, I found myself gazing into the treetops or out onto the water. I felt myself slowing down and feeling more in touch with the world around me. I had this feeling I could be out in it for a long time, and not feel this anxious need to be somewhere else, accomplishing some important task. It felt much more pressing in those moments to be in this space, getting to know the place better, getting to know myself again.
The rhythms of the world tend to affect us, no matter how we shelter ourselves and resist. As the world warms and gets brighter, as all the other living things around us wake up, become more active, I can’t help but feel myself more drawn into it. I generally always want to be outside to some degree, but during this time it feels criminal to squander a chance to view what is happening out there. I want to do something on par with the alders sprouting buds everywhere.
On Friday Allyson and I helped a friend move into a new apartment. The circumstances for the move were not ideal, but we were happy to help a friend out. You really see who your friends are when it’s time to move. It was a pretty easy move as far as moves go. We had about 4 carloads of boxes and furniture and about a 5 minute drive. We started at about 4pm and had gotten a fair amount of stuff unpacked and furniture arranged by about 9:30pm. In the parking lot of this new apartment complex, I looked around at the town of Garibaldi, the mountains, the bay. A marine layer brought fluffy clouds over the tops of the mountains as the blue sky gave way to the night’s black. I thought about how this is the first night of a new life of something that will become normal.
What a week to start something new, to become something new. Things are certainly always growing. But, there are moments when it is necessary to shed something to grow more. I feel that phase of shedding coming to an end for now. I see moments of rapid growth nearing, closer and closer. Leaps and bounds of growth.