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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

July 4and July 14?

I camp at Quinault Lake, in the national forest, mosquitoes fly around my head as i type. i am in the national forest, on or beside indian land. The forest here is not as razed and hurt as it was on the drive up. Does some know that it has been preserved. I sleep deep, my tent at the base of one of the few giant spruce trees that remain. I chose this spot, at falls creek campground, in part because of the tree.
But i wonder now, how i give most to the largest trees, those that stand above. so many struggle to just survive and grow to grandeur too. do i look away from the clearcuts because i can feel their pain? are those not the very places that need our energy and love the most? Yes, this area has been restored for recreation, but can a place be true if it is surrounded by those areas hollowed out, those places that are only a shadow or what they once were, or what they could be.

But of those areas, can i not accept them for what they are?- a woman on the bus turned around like i did the other day, a local girl said “she did not like what she saw” – and that is true, and i turned around for the same reason, went back to where i stayed and saw it there – the clearcuts and deformed hills that stood beyond the town. but we have done it, used it up, cannot just run away, cannot say i don’t like you anymore. we do that with people too, ask why they cannot thrive when all has been chopped and distorted too, used up for the profit machines. We do not see the light they still have, the beauty somewhere inside. the communities as hollowed out at the land. We cannot do it to the land, and expect to survive – but do we reject what has been created, move on through, no longer wanting to see. can we send love, connect not out of pain but of something higher.

a child came down to the lake, the lake that shows its beauty, glistening beneath the mountains that surround, though in the light or lack there of the forest shows its pain, becoming grey, and the older chopped zone still can be seen – but he does not see, the best that he knows, and that is the energy that he sends, of love and appreciation for what is. and this Lake is an oasis of sorts in the coastal realm, and i know further back more grows still.

as i sleep under the giant, i see that is what it is with the razed places, nothing left, no giants to inspire the others who are coming up, showing the heights to which they may reach, the grandeur they may become; do the trees not know, have they forgotten what their potential is. or having been cut down to many times, do they refuse to grow, not seeing the point of it anymore, knowing they cannot become what they were meant to be,, only timber, and not leaving any offspring.

Still this places is healthier than the lands i passed through, the forest grows again here, and is more than timberland – ihe timberland of the lumber companies, who have turned trees into merely resources to serve another end, without respect for what they are. and yes, i smiled, the depletion that i felt left me when i came back in to an area that was more preserved or allowed to regrow. and i see the forest is more than the trees – it is the ferns that grow, the slugs along the path – though not today, the mosses and so much more. it is a place of life, where life forces meet and join.

Still it does feel heavy mixed with joy, i am in the rain forest on a sunny day, a day where birds sing and people come out to play. I remember when i first came here, the only time, 10 years ago, and wanted to leave, a rainy day, and i did not yet know about the rain forest, about rain pants or protecting a camera. beauty, wanted to return, and see how i have changed.

I had thought about staying longer but the store is closed, shut down for good. A lodge next to the campground where i buy coffee, but with an overpriced restaurant. The sun shines, but i do not hike, walk the edge of the lake, stare at the rocks that come alive in a small waterfall, and then take the bus north, to yet another lake.

I return to the rain forest at Lake Quinault a week later after having traveled to different lands, after having reached the location where i was to go. I came back and slept under the very same tree, and this time i felt it’s pain – being one of the survivors must be hard, one of the few who still stands, who has witnessed it all – but who still stands tall and proud.

This time i experience the rain forest in the rain, laying in my tent for hours on end, my tent that i was able to set up before the skies opened and poured down tears, bouncing off the ground, splattering the dirt upwards, nourishing that which will grow again. I have been through the park, and to islands where much is being restored, islands of forests and preserves and farms. The rain pours down, and then it stops, i walk a path, and in places it feels like forest again, it is alive, and it see the moss dripping down, and a few slugs along the path. i pack up a drenched tent, the bottom soupy with mud, and catch a bus to the south. But as i have passed around here, i feel something has been stripped out of me – is it just the rain and gray, or is it more. I pass through towns and cities, and then i yearn for it again, yearn for the lake where some of the trees grow tall, and nature sings, but i do not return – I almost do, for what grows there does have a place in my soul.

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I sit in my tent in the grassy flats campground in the six rivers recreation area of the national forest and wonder why i paid for a campsite last night. or do i? for i was exhausted when i arrived here after 7pm, and felt that i could move on no more, and did not trust my decision-making to stake out a backwoods campsite for the night.

the land is do different here – hot and sunny and dry. I still hear the waters of the smith river, but my tent is on rocky ground surrounded by spindly madrone (arbutus) trees, the seem so thin with their peeling red bark.

now it is morning and i do not know what to do – i feel that i have really crossed the line this time, sitting alone in the national forest, five miles up the road from the tiny town of gasquet. and i do not know where to go or understand this road i am on. it’s like i have taken the final step outside, and do not know how to make my way back – so what if i am a bit crazy i want to say, don’t understand why much of the world lives its way, and here wondering how i will survive in a landscape that does not like people like me.

Yesterday i left the grandeur of the redwoods about 11am, i woke up to the sun and did not want to go – but there is the two day limit on the hiker sites, and it was time for me to leave. i talked for a bit with a biker who pulled in, one of the many who lives 6 months of the year on his bike, moving around from place to place, carving out his own kind of life – for i know he would not fit in with regular society. and he had an attitude, one of getting back at people, but seemed to be accepting of who he was.
i walked to the store, a mini-mart- a mile up the road, and hung out there drinking americanos from the espresso bar and cheap deep fried burritos from the “deli” as i made a decision on where to go – had missed the bus that would take me inland to grants pass, medford, or klamath falls, and none of those places appealed to me would i go back to crescent city and camp and on monday when busses run, catch one down the coast?

Harbin has been calling me, a place to be, but was not sure if it was the devil tempting me. and more redwoods as i passed on down, but through an area, humbolt counrty, that i have avoided travelling through. and for a day or two i would be close to the ocean again.

so i decided to hitch out to gasquet, and find myself a campground or camping spot for a night or two. buses inland pass through every morning, and on Tuesday one goes out to the coast that will connect with others going south. but i cross the road and see a woman sitting there with a sign and all of her stuff – and she had alot of stuff – two pull trailers piled high with bags and crates for the two (more?) cats that travelled with her. Her sign said oregon – roseburg please, and as we talked i found out she had been sitting there for 26 hours or more – waiting for the lift to appear. she said old folks were the best, and talked on how she had been in the paper elsewhere, the lady on the side of the road. She told me i had a lot of stuff, but it was nothing compared to her load. Yes, she was crazy but nice and kind, a story to tell and a life to share and we chatted for a little while. i would have liked to talk longer (i think i might have seen her before elsewhere, but with the uniform that the road life leads to, it could have been somebody else) but we both needed to move on from where we were. and i recognized myself in her

i walked up ahead, but there was no place to stand without competing with her, so i crossed the road and said ok, i will go back out to the coast, but as i stood there for about 10 minutes, that direction began to feel so wrong to me, so i turned around and started walking against the traffic on the road, thinking there must be a place to stand though the sign said winding road – 5 miles – and in california that really does mean something.

so i walked and i walked and i walked all day – finally stopping in gasquet about 8 miles up the road and now the walk seems almost surreal – a haze and zone i was in outside myself, putting one foot in front of the other, at times taking my bag off to rest, walking that narrow winding road, with minimal shoulders in some places, and through rock slide zones, in the heat of the sun and burning my shoulders as i have removed my coat and long sleeves and am wearing only a tank top – and almost running out of water as well. actually it was the lack of water that made me push my way on up the road – for if i had enough i would have found a patch in the woods to camp out for the night a long way back. But i plowed on, the scenery beautiful, dryer and more a mountain fee, and i looked at the smith river down below, rushing down, or some pools in deep rock formations where people were jumping off cliffs. and the beauty of the land beyond the coastal zone spoke to me so loud and clear – a very different zone. the walk was tough as i had to step into the brush as rvs or trucks made the blind curves, and i felt in zone, so alert, as i watched and was aware of all that was around. and the land got dryer the further i went, and my legs felt like jelly after a while – at one places as i walked on the other side of the barrier on a narrow path on the edge of the cliff, i wondered if i would give way, but then i saw a sign for a crossroad and knew i must be nearing the town. and i felt exhausted and so alive simultaneously.

I finally got to the town of gasquet and saw nothing on the road – only a broken down, closed biker hotel and a village of houses off the road and wondered what the hell i was doing here. then i found a little store – cafe further on up and sat and drank soda and water and had a bagel and checked my email – it was about 6pm and i felt like i could walk on no more. i sat then asked about a place to camp, and was directed here up the road.

I could not walk it so i stuck out my thumb figuring i would be out of the town boundaries quickly enough and if need be could sleep in the bush but i felt a rough edge around the town despite the kindness of the people in the cafe. A woman in a small truck stopped and gave me a lift – a native woman from crescent city (i think) on her was to washington – her truck was full of stuff and smelt like fish, and i wondered if all her belongings were in there. the road turned to four lanes and widened as we passed the town, and she did not hear when i pointed to the first campground three miles from town on the other side of the road.

So i came in here, and there was space, did not take one of the walk in sites, a group of guys partying had one and i questioned their vibe and there was no one else in that area so i took a regular site – all the same price at $10 a night. just after i paid a forest service person came in- and i talked with him and he said you can camp almost anywhere outside campgrounds where not posted for free, and i feel that maybe i should have done that. but i feel sound a sleep on the hard ground, the highway just through the trees, and sleep 12 hours and felt relaxed and now i feel it is time for me to leave.

i stay another day – no energy to move on – now after 5 i sit in my tent – running out of food, knowing tomorrow i will have to go – but where? i wish that i had a place to land, to plant my feet for a while, but i do not, and it seems that the road is my only home. i have ventured out into the unknown and feel i have no place to land, but as i sit in my tent and at my picnic table, wander down to the river for a short while, i feel restless and alone, talked to nobody all day, and so little conversation in the past few. how i long for a place that i can grow and shine, feel accepted and not have to hide away – but just as i do not understand the others, they do not understand me.

i send this message from crescent city where the temperature is much cooler and the sky is grey once again. i will go down the coast and inland from there. i walked two miles in land towards gasquet, the road and nature was all there was – beautiful and dry, nature abounds, and ride the rest of the way into down in the open back of a truck with a brown lab looking up at the sky and the tress and backwards as we wind on down the road.

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I sit in my tent under the redwood giants and i have to thank them for being alive. their grandeur and energy overwhelm me and i have to thank them once again. They remind me of how small i am and how our lives are fleeting, just temporary – for these trees have lived hundreds of years and tower above all that is around.
and then i remember how few remain – just about 3% of the forests that stood 150-200 years ago, most chopped down and used for building for furniture and more, and most now remain in the protected areas of national and state parks on down the coast. and as i thought of their endurance, the lives they have seen, i realize that the old ones are the lucky survivors of that time. Today i went out to the stout grove, and saw other tourists passing through – awing and marveling over these giants and remnants of a time gone by, appreciating them for what they are – but for how long were they not valued in and of themselves, and were like so much today – people, elements and other life – just valued in terms of their short term use to us.
in stout grove there are several fallen trees, giants that have tumbled in more recent years – their short wide root systems exposed. and i have to think why one and not the other fell, and what determines when one goes. I thought of the other giants, further up the coast, the hemlocks and spruce and cedars of the other old(er) growth forests, and of passing through after a storm, seeing a few laying downed beside the road or over roofs and asking why these now – for they seem so permanent and so old to boot. and others with first marks, and one that lightning hit. And here in this campground knowing they stood in several feet of water in the big flood. but the survivors live on and show their light, and i thank them for being here.

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I am camping in Jediah Smith Redwood, my tent planted between three old growth redwood trees, and it seems so small compared to their grandeur. and so do i. My site, probably the best in the park, is circled by many more of these ancient life forms – hundreds and hundreds of years old, and others in the campground may have seen a thousand or more. and i think of all they have witnessed in thier lives, standing, growing tall, enduring the changes and catastrophes of the years , the endure and thrive and have such a rich presence. and i thank god for bringing me here. and the park of this morning on the coast, and the towns i passed through and bus rides i took seem eaons away.
my energy has calmed since being here – was rushing through and off kilter for the early part of the day. i woke at 3am and never really went back to sleep and packed up my tent in the damp grey before 7am and walked into town to catch the bus south at 8:45 not entirely sure of where i was going to. and by the time i got to brookings at 8am a steady drizzle was coming down as it would on and off for the ride south to crescent city california.
and i could feel the energy, the twitching in my face and movements of my arms, overnight and i felt more and more that i had to get off the coast. the afternoon before when walking back to the campground, i had a feeling of walking in that twilight zone where all seemed a bit unreal – and i felt that life was going on but something big was about to give. and at night in my tent the cool damp earth beneath seemed less stable than it usually is.
the first bus took my south to smith river, the convenience store beside the casino, and the whole ride down i felt not myself – a transformation or something, that energy rush that i had experienced in santa cruz and down the coast – the landscape seemed sad beneath the grey, the homes and people all worn down, a guy at one stop before 10am out in sock feet, drinking a cheap can of beer and smoking a butt, but giving another money so he could get on. Crescent city was still a grey sprawl. I thought of previous times i passed through and hated it here, sitting in mcdonalds for 2 hours in the rain waiting for the bus to continue on a few miles south when greyhound ran through back in 2001. and i try to remember seeing the beauty, but that was another time in the winter sun. i still felt like the earth was about to give and could i get away soon enough, and i sat by the bus stop waiting, waiting, for 45 minutes but what seemed like days hoping i could get out of this place. And that energy and those feelings kept on rushing through.
I catch the bus out of town and get here to this magical place, down highway 199 which twists through the ancient groves. i feel calmer away from coastal air. But, then when i go to the bathroom i see a sign marking the high water level of december 22 1964, the tsunami from the huge alaska earthquake, and the line was over the top of the bathroom door.
the sun broke through for a few hours – at about 330 pm. i sit at my picnic table in this quiet area and thank god that i am here. and tonight i get to sleep beneath the trees, my tent in an alcove surrounded and dwarfed by three. And i feel their presence within me and marvel at their lives. somehow the magic of the world has come back alive.

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yesterday the sun came out about 4pm – and for a moment these lands drew me back in. the sun filtered through the forest, illuminating the different shades of green, brilliant for a moment instead of heavy and oppressive as it too often seems. later that evening i went down to the beach, to watch the sun set over the sea. and as i walked the sandy beach, camera in hand, taking photos of the rock formations just off shore, i realized this area has lost its magic for me. i sat down on a large driftwood log, one of many that scatter the beach, and listened to the songs of the seagulls, music that once had seemed so romantic to me, and watched the changing colours of the sky- from blue to yellow and orange and pink. why am i not mesmerized and taken with awe i ask, as i had been in these scenarios so many times. i knew it was a beautiful sight. but the magic was no longer there for me. And the sea stacks that once called and spoke to me, alive with a mysterious life, now seemed almost ominous and foreboding, the remains of civilizations gone by, or alive and guarding, standing around, protecting something, something that is gone. The sun went down and i went to bed, knowing that truly the magic had been gone for some time – and it was not just the fog and grey. and i wondered how magical this coast had ever really been – oh yes – there was (and is) something special here, but over the past few years i have travelled it too many times, looking and looking for something i do not find. Has the coast changed? is it me? or both? yet, it is hard to say goodbye, for memories of magical moments still linger in my mind.

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I no longer hear the ocean from my tent; the water is further away – 1/4 mile down a paved path through straggly forest and across low dunes. The fog horn calls out though it is clear and i sit near the water anticipating a “traditional” pacific sunset – one where you see the golden ball drop into the ocean – or so it appears though “i know” it is not really so. I sit on a bench on a viewing platform above the beach, the small dunes covered in dunegrass.

As i walked out here i read the interpretive signs painted on the pavement, how where i sit right now was part of the ocean still back in ’74 – in my lifetime. and as i walked out i passed the signs for many other years; the paved path that i took to the jetty that built this land earlier on was the shoreline in 1840 or so. The boulders piled in two straight lines in order to allow safe passage into the bay has altered this terrain; this very place shifted from sea to earth, and on the land from grass to flowers to shrubs and a small straggly forest behind.

And i thought as i waited for the sun to set, how building or creating one new thing can cause the entire environment to shift and how amazing if we create just one thing how much change can abound. And as i sat i knew that if it were not for the interpretive signs you could easily imagine that it had always been that way as i had earlier as i made my way over small dunes to the beach – and how often in life do we imagine that what exists in what is really a moment or blip in time, to be the natural order of things, the way it is and must be. But grain by grain tossed in the wind and surf, and seed by seed, the ocean waters have become a place where deer now live and people walk and sit, and the sea creatures have been displaced and have moved further on out. And what us humans built boulder by boulder has altered it so.

The sun did not sink into the ocean but once again disappeared into a bank of fog. And before i left i looked at a sign once more – how the jetty had been build to stop the migrating flow of sands, those that shifted and flowed up and down the coast. And i thought of my tired legs and what seemed to be stiff hips, and of how when we stop the flows, stuff stagnates and accumulates, taking on a life of its own – and i thought of blocked energy and maintaining the flow. I though of this tsunami zone and how long the jettys and the sand might hold, will it one day (or when is the day?) that it will all be swept away? Of will the sands have another long time to accumulate and grow, and then will extend beyond the jetty, and flow up and down once more. Or it is just a shifting of flow, one passage opened up, and all is change anyways.

I went to bed and found that i could hear the ocean as well as the fog horn that sounded throughout the night. I did not meld with the sound as i had when i camped a few feet from the shore, but its sound was there and part of what lulled me to sleep. And just before i went to bed, i thought of the campground at jessica honeyman south of florence in the land of the dunes where i never saw or heard the open ocean; two miles of dunes and atvs divided the place from the shore. if i were to return here in 500 years or so where would the shoreline be?

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It feels weird to be typing this in a tent -and i see my battery is not as charged as it was when i turned off this machine the other day.

I slept long last night – with intense dreams – saw a script though i do not remember what it said, a scroll of sorts. my dreams out here and the sleep have been full, a good part of my time it seems in that other world. the sleep was deep, though i still feel i need padding for my hips. Clouds or fog have come in and it seems that all around have slept late.

I heard the ocean last night, it caressed me and became part of me, lulling me to sleep, and i felt like i was in a womb. I crawled into my tent, the clouds above forming a container with the ground beneath – and so many containers, or now that i type this maybe veils – the wind-blown distorted straggling low-lying spruce that form a roof, then my tent beneath, and within my sleeping bag pulled up over my head – and the ocean continues, and it feels like a womb, that i am being lapped in the salty water.

An interesting sunset last night as a low bank of  clouds came in off the ocean, and another, slightly higher, came down from the north, meeting and starting to join just as the sun was falling behind – the yellow ball hidden from sight, but rays of gold streamed through the gap reflecting off the water below, beaming through like in one of those old religious paintings. (tonight it was different, the sun did wobble above the clouds, felt a haze around it, then it appeared to balance on top of the thick grey, and then it sank behind – and i though of the earth turning and of the moons rotation as i looked to the south and saw it in the sky.

Today the sun has gone, or has hidden away, and i come back to a coast i remember so well and i did not want to crawl out of my cocoon. but the day has come, and the roar of the traffic on the 101 joins that of the ocean, and i can spend no more time in that other world.

And i feel a bit weak – my diet i wonder – switching more to that packaged american fare – the stuff we call ‘food’ that comes from a package or a factory or is shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. I bought broccoli last night and it was bad, spit it out and it churns in my stomach. I lay in bed, or in my bag, before the ocean entered in, longing for fresh food, sun, from the garden, harvested then and there, a true farmers stand and seasonal bounty not stuff made in a factory or shipped from away, the seasons irrelevant, where time and place matter no more. i thought of fish and the oceans bounty, and all i have had is tuna from a can. But soon i will eat my organic peanut butter and conventional banana sandwich on whole wheat bread and i drink my coffee from a can. I feel a slight chill from the ocean air but i dare not long for the heat, for a week ago as i sweltered under the blazing sun i longed for the cool, and to appreciate what is here. like the food i crave, to be here now, in this time and space.

Last night i sat behind an outcropping – a barrier from the wind. a woman came over with her cane, said what a good location, and her adult kids brought her over a chair. “these bags i have are full of sand, i make beaches from my grandniece back east – sand and shells and rocks from where i go, her little beaches in a jar. She has never seen a beach, and probably never will.” i say “you never know, the beaches you gave may call her forth one of these years”. “times are tough all over’, she says, “they may never get to travel.”

A family sits not far away, later she says they are from wisconsin, living in their van, all their possessions piled in there, the dad looking for work across the country and now down the coast. I think “they have nothing, and are on the road, a different type of travel you see” and i remember all those i have met living on the road – the home a van, an rv, a car or a tent. an old dog tries to run with the kids, and they cook hotdogs on sticks on a fire of found wood as the sun is setting, laughing, making lemonade from the lemons in life – and part of me says how lucky those kids are.

I talk to the woman – she has been in the state just over a year and tells me some of her life; “when you see me staring up in the sky at planes, you know i have been somewhere too long.” “If i were 40 again i would become a truck driver and see the country that way” – she smiles as she recollects the two years she rode with her son in his truck. I love to travel solo, but the world was not ready for me – different then – a woman travelling on her own. And i rejoice in the stories and a moment shared.
But that was last night and now it is morning.

I walked to Waldport on the beach, and back again – between 3-4 miles each way depending on which map you read. The tide was out and the beach was wide, and with the grey sky the winds of days gone by had mellowed into merely a breeze. As i walked i felt myself on the edge of the continent – wondering why with this immense land mass i cling to the edge – the edge where it descends into the sea, another world not for us humans to live – a different place where i or others will never truly understand. and i thought of the gulf coast and imagined the oil slick and the animals and life that was suffering there and i prayed. Then i turned the corner into the small alesea bay, up towards the town and i realized that the ground or sand i was walking on had been part of that other world, under the water, just a few hours before and it would be again.

when i got to waldport i asked myself why? why had i come? as i know i have done time and time again. The sky was grey and the town felt empty and sad – as it had before from time to time. the resto with the fish and chips had changed hands and it was empty inside and many more places seemed empty or shut on the road that makes up the town. I sat by the bay with a weak coffee, and remembered my thoughts of earlier that day.

Thoughts of the return to the familiar – how i have done it once again, and i thought back to that time in monterey when i first was truly conscious of my tiredness of exploration and how i was doing so little of that anymore. The familiar – need not search out for much. you have an idea of what you will encounter – though it is never truly the same and what you had forgotten comes back and you see the sameness once again. And with the clouds of today the familiarity of the coast came back and Walport, the more blue-collar town – though that world doesn’t really exist out here anymore – with its flea market, and laundromat and wifi not to be found on a sunday with the library closed, made me think of robert and doing laundry on a cold rainy day, and my search for books, and how it seems to be more his type of town – life goes on – such a different vibe than yachats a mere 8 miles down the road, and where i sleep is in between the two, and i feel that way myself. then i went into Rays, the grocery store, more down to earth, with much lower prices, and friendly service all around; they were cooking chicken in the deli, and put aside a piece for me upon my return. and it is the genuine kindness of the place i will remember – though i know it can hold back as well.

I walk through the town one last time before heading back to camp – i feel sad, nothing here for me, as i go through this small town. I walk on back, the tide’s coming in, so i walk down the highway a bit, a half a mile to where i can cut down to the open beach again. The miles seem longer going this way, the return to my place a more arduous journey. The day had warmed up and i am hot and feel sweat before i remove a layer, and i am carrying a few extra pounds of food. My legs feel heavy and i am hungry for i did not eat in town – i can wait i say until i get back to camp. I walk houses in view, but the small headland is not the one i thought – still one more to go, and i want to sit and rest on one of the few logs. a group is when i left them, playing croquet or something similar, a few hours before, seeming the same and i think all that has passed through me in the few hours since i came the other way. I am almost there – my feet are hot – and i take off my boots and walk barefoot in the sand – and how much freer i feel and a patch of blue grows in the sky. I walk across the parking lot, the uneven concrete felt upon my bare feet.

At times i dream of cities or larger small towns – but what am i to do and how am i to survive there? I think of the kids i saw by the bench where i smoked on my way out of waldport – young with huge sleeping bags and ragtag gear making their way on down the coast. And how it is a kinder, gentler life out here. And i remember that roadtrip with robert, after we left this place for i just had to get out, hiding away in a motel room feeling like i was shrinking everyday – a trip to the inner lands – the valleys of california, arizona, new mexico and beyond, with some such hard-scrabble trailer small towns – beaten down with a harsher glare – that we passed though, and at times it seemed not quick enough – and now as i type i remember there was kindness there too, at least in many places. and in waldport too are the posters “meth kills” and the vibe of the kids who hang out behind the store. But here the strange health food/pet food store has expanded and moved across the street – not better times but cheaper rent so i was told as the storefront where it once was sits vacant – just up a bit from the drive through espresso stand.

I come back to camp and talk to a new arrival – a guy on a bike riding north against the winds; a circle around the country he hopes, started in Florida a year ago – the winter spent in colorado. he goes off to scavage free firewood. The kids who were here yesterday have also stayed and have a tinny radio with hard rock on low volume that sounds like it comes from headphones that bleed. i get agitated, and then i say to myself, this is all our place too and moments later go on over and talk to them. she has gone off, but i ask him where their journey goes – on foot as well and i am curious – started in Astoria a few days ago – packs too heavy – his almost 100 pounds, and walk and hitch as well – hope to make it to Maine, may take a couple of years with the winter down south – texas or so where family is – day four of the trip now and hopes are high. I think of my old dreams of crisscrossing the country that way – dreams that sometimes come to mind until i put on my pack and stand on the road and then long for a place to stay. Sun comes out and i take a nap as showers are being cleaned – and i forget the radio and when i get up it is off as it is for rest of the day.

It is another day and the sky is grey once again after the brief respite of yesterday’s late afternoon sun. And this is familiar – too familiar as the greyness seeps into me. The robins still sing so why not i?

But coming back to familiarity, that comfort we crave, the knowing of where one may stop, find a bathroom or a bite to eat. but there is the other side too, both the joys and the sorrows that come back in – and all is simultaneously as one remembers and so different too – not just the fact that a store has moved, or the sunset is different each day, but of that landscape inside, brought back in time, yet incorporating, however buried, all that has happened in between – but it takes time for that in between to arise again, because for a moment, be it a short or long one, one is thrust back into time, into the place that one was.

The feeling of loneliness arises again today – a feeling that has been gnawing at me out here on this coast – or maybe everywhere i go.
The wind blows down and the highway – the 101 – runs north to south, nestled between the waters and this narrow strip of land – movement – up, down, passing through. I think there is a reason why this land is so sparsely populated and it feels lonely here – and maybe that is what i have felt before. Yes the calm and the beauty draw me in, but then that loneliness seeps in – and maybe that is why people reach out. Or become hunkered down under the skies when they cry endlessly, bracing against the winds.

And once again i feel the need to rejoin the rest of humanity – the slowness enters in and i want to reach out and dance with others – to step out of this cocoon i have wrapped myself in. To engage in life, but what does that mean? and just how to connect – for here i meet others with stories, those which i feel inside. And i wonder what is the me – the i – who is she – already i forget that person who existed but a week ago in eugene and i wonder why she thought as she did – but veils have already been draped, and events and peoples and memories have been revisited so many times, the story line altering a bit each time, and i wonder what was, what was merely part of the script i wrote, and what is now just part of the story i write. but as i reflect back, to then and so many other times since i have last been here, i remember the people, the teachers in life, and all i had to learn and give – and i did not always see the lessons, and my face in the mirror, and did not see what i gave or failed to give in return as well. and i thank those teachers – the people passing through – for though nature and solitude have taught me well, and given a quiet to incorporate lessons from more hectic times, it is from one another we learn and grow.

Roads lead inland, over the mountains to another valley more unknown to me, and over more mountains to a world beyond. and what is it that holds me back – has my life become stuck upon the groove, to take one of them, or is it fear or the knowing that i cannot run away from the lessons i have to learn. It is cool and damp and i must soon pack up my tent and venture on up the road – when will i turn to join the dance of life once again.

The sun came out as i packed up camp and i remembered the joys off this place. earlier i remembered a time a few years back taking down a soggy tent with one glove on and wondering where the second had gone. i was late – almost noon as i prepared to leave, and the south tempted me once again – and i remember the last time here – the man walking with his cat and how the sky turned to blue and i decided to walk down that way. And the temptation arose but it was late in the day – and it made me wonder (again) if i came out to florence this time hoping for a miracle, a rescue of sorts, as i had been “rescued” last time – the solo journey south aborted there, and i stood on the road not wanting to go to Eugene. He appeared and the story has unfolded and i am back here alone, coming out from eugene as i had on my first camping trip to this coast.

but as i stepped on the lonely road to wait for the bus, i felt lonely again. and the sun is out and the wind is up and i send this from the library in waldport – on monday and there is wifi. and i head up to newport for a day or two and another chapter to be written.

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