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Posts Tagged ‘sun’

sunburn by the sea

I felt my energy calm when i sat beside the shore in Monterey. A relaxation came over me – one that was deep, cells and tension loosening, loosening. for a while i felt bliss, and energy flowing through, moving out and in and expansion but that has now turned to a blah and sadness, as can be felt upon this page. intensity is gone, and i wonder how that calm – the negative ions of the water, the return to the level of the sea and the softening and looseness is but a part of the spectrum of the lethargy and heaviness that i have experienced in myself and felt in others further up the coast in the rain. Molecules loosen, the vibration slows, and all becomes sluggish, like many of the faces i saw. But for a while it was wonderful, anxiety stripped away, and contentment felt throughout. I felt changes inside, muscles gripping less, face changing – until later i looked in the mirror and it was sad. And now i realize that i spent too long in the sun, walked too far without a repose, and sought merely to suck it in – and i got burnt.

The sun shone brightly and intensely upon the shore. I got up and kept on walking, to the place where the rocks grew more craggly and waves were more intense. i kept going on though i had nagging feelings inside that i should stop – the seaweed at this time of year has turn brown and slimy and most of all it stinks. once again, i found myself without food – unprepared. but i moved on, though the sun was getting hotter about midday – i stopped a while in the shade, no longer at peace, thinking of turning back – but to what and i looked further out and said i must go on. i pushed on, my feet sweltering, and when i got there i felt there was little for me – a more crowded beach with the tide coming in – and where i wanted to be still seemed out of reach. so i turned back – depleted, wondering why i had done this again. i felt the sun upon my back and arms, searing the skin and i could find no shade. later a woman told me i was getting red – back at the spot where i had paused the first time feeling contentment beside the shore – and i felt the burn even more.

And so for the past few days i have been avoiding the light. It has become painful and i wear the visible redness of my folly. And i have not been burnt like this for several years – since i climbed crough patrick in ireland over three years ago – and there like here, it snuck up on me – i was not expecting it and went out unprepared. So now i seek out the shadows and sit inside in the dark. And the next day i did not go where i had been called when i came to this place, or maybe the call was false after all and this was a lesson i needed to learn.
I finish this entry a week after the walk and my sunburn has gone away and the last layer of skin has peeled off my nose. But i still linger in the dark though the sun shines brightly in the day. And i have moved up the coast to another place, a place where i feel the burn is more intense – not on my skin but inside. For i have spent too long seeking out the light and trying to bring it in – and not enough on sharing that which is within. for the ways i have sought have often been only skin deep and temporary. And maybe that is why i cannot ascend a mountain or climb too high, and remain in the valleys of life. Rather than try to glow down here, i have sought out the peaks, and in doing so i lose the light that was inside.

For i remember now sitting on the rocks and feeling the energy pulsing through, listening to sea lions at night, and watching pelicans and seagulls in the day and smiling as children ran exploring the world around, and dogs walking along taking the life in – passing the light through unconsciously, but that seems far away. When i first was there my smile grew and my words grew kind, but then i felt myself shrink inside. Was i unable to transform the light, or was it that it could not enter in through to the darkness inside, my critiques coming up and chasing it away. The sun is pure, but it can burn and the light must be spread around.

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i arrived in brookings about 3pm – rode the bus this time. was not sure if it ran today but after standing on the side of the road by humbug mountain for almost three hours, at times almost descending to tears, i prayed that it did. and i have to admit i was glad to be out of there. And i am not too sure why – for it was a beautiful place; set along a stream, with mountains on each side, plenty of trees and some with leaves rather than just needles, and access to the scenic beach. But after my first night when i moved from the overflow to the real hiker biker camp my mood started to change. was it something about the specific locale, on a hill instead of in a wide area of brown grass beside the stream, something in the air, the influence of the sun, or was it just me.

I wake up in the sun and the sun shines throughout the day. and i am no longer in that twilight zone. I spend the day at humbug mountain – not feeling like moving on. i am nearing the border to california and running out of oregon state parks. I awake and the sun is shining and it shines throughout the day – and how different i feel now that i am no longer in twilight zone – the movement inside is no longer sluggish, and crackles a bit.

I am at peace and then i move from the overflow to the real hiker biker area and i feel the energy change – i don’t know what it was and i feel better now – was it the threat of being moved in on and wanting one of the designated areas to myself and feeling greedy about that which made me feel this way. is it the sun itself or maybe limited caffeine.

I tell myself i will climb up humbug mountain itself – to get views up and down the coast and walk through some old growth that is there – but part of me just wants to relax and read and not put on my hiking boots. i sit in the sun feeling warm and then feel yes i should go for a hike – i put on my boots and across to the well groomed and graded trail, and begin my hike, thinking oh lethargy will just go away, always better once you start- i go about a mile up, see two families coming down, the trail is fine – ferns, salal, trees with some old growth giants, and a fair amount of poison oak – but i still do not want to hike. i continue on where the circle is and then turn around. yes, this is what i am supposed to do here – but it does not call to me.

and i have been feeling a bit like a fraud again – not a true hiker on the oregon coast trail, making much of my way by thumb and bus and i feel like i should be hiking more – and should is the operative word. i remember how last summer as i bussed around lake tahoe camping at the few hiker sites, i then too felt like i fraud, like i should be doing the pacific crest trail, as many of the other hikers were. but i know i am not a backpacker in the long distance hiking sense of the word, and while i love the wildlands, at times i prefer tamer parks.

And while the rvers and tenters come to relax and enjoy the sea, here i feel i should be hiking. and a place often calls up an activity and do you feel it inside. And there are places for hiking, for working – of different sorts, for partying, and for so much else. and do you jive with the activity to be performed? If not, you often feel out of kilter and out of tune with the dominant vibe. And the activities often define a place – be it in a home – a bedroom or sleeping place, the cooking place, and the place to pee, and within cities there are now so many specialized zones, and likewise with areas of the country or towns up and down the coast. And i here i feel out of kilter

in the evening i go down to the beach to watch the sunset over the sea and the standing monoliths or rocks offshore. but i do not feel calm and become impatient with how long it takes to descend; and have to chuckle when a man on a nearby log boos when it goes behind the bank of fog that remains offshore here.

I get up in morning and it is sunny again – and i feel a floating agitation coming over me. and this is what i wrote as i sat at my picnic table before i left – feeling off balance here. The fog is gone and the light is clear and i feel unnerved, crackling and sad and this has happened before – many a time in fact. The veils of the fog are gone, and that heaviness and twilight sense of a dream disappear, and the illusions are revealed as the edges become sharper and more is seen, And at times you wish the fog to return, those veils that made all so much softer and slower, and a different type of comfort despite the chill. It has been warm here, i did not shiver in my tent, and even awoke in a sweat after my afternoon nap in the sun, and though it is beautiful here, i sense a different loneliness and being off the path that seems more intense – and it is the intensity that the brightness brings, a shock to the system and movement of all that gathered in the grey. It seems harder, harsher like the the bright paintings in bright primary colors with well defined shapes, not muted or blurring into one another, a vision of separateness, and in the greys all mingles more. and i feel like i am not camper or hiker girl though i can do both and it is a part of me, and i do not wish to be a vagrant upon this land.

I stand by the road and watch the cars pass me on by and a feel like a leper, a taker of life. i stand for an hour and then wonder if i will hit the trail, i go back to find it, and the ascent is steep, too steep for me with all my gear, as it heads over a smaller mountain. the road curved before me, and i am by a long wide pullout – rvs and cars and all go by and i wonder if i should cross the road and ask myself what the hell am i doing here – i start to dissolve, my smile to the cars is ultra forced, and they probably sense the discomfort in me. i am almost out of food – an energy bar and a few peanuts, and some instant oatmeal that i guess i can eat dry, and i have not had a real coffee in two days – some tea made with warm tap water, and a can of seattle’s best latte, if i stay here will i climb into the bush? I go up check out the trail but the ascent is way too steep for me. I know the day is nice and i am in a beautiful locale, but i am feeling desperate now – what the hell brought me to this place. i wonder if it was port orford, the town 6 miles up the road, with that strange vibe, and undertow of sorts, like a hippyville gone bad. and some others at the campground also commented on that town. And i felt it coming through a couple of years ago – and even in the 80s this was the place where thumbing was not good. and i wonder if it is because i am closer to california, and i regret leaving the kindness of the people to the north behind. And i tell myself i am heading to nothing, what is down this road for me?

The bus finally comes – glad the schedule that showed 5 days a week instead of the old 3 was correct, and pulls over when i flag it down. The driver is grumpy, and the signs telling passengers not to eat or drink have none of the kindness of those in the other county bus systems. he is curt, and i pay my fare – expensive here in Curry county – $4 to gold river and another $4 to brookings. There is one other passenger, a wanderer just like me, had all his belongings stolen when he left them in some bushes in port orford as he looked for a place to hitch – or so the story goes. his voucher he had gotten for food was in the pack and gone but the charities there gave him a voucher for the bus on down to here – looking for help in brookings where he might spend the night – walked out of a bad relationship in michigan two years ago and has been walking ever since – to florida for the winter, Tennessee in the fall.

The coast is beautiful here with the rugged cliffs and rocks offshore but grey has come in once again. The bus whizzes by so many
lookout points where i would love to stop but i pass on through. We get to gold river – another long spread out town with another weird vibe to it and a girl in jeans about 5 sizes too large gets on. The ride is beautiful, but i wonder if i am going the right way.

I am sad when we get to brookings – another ugly sprawl along the road. i grab a coffee at an espresso stand and then go grocery shopping at the large fred meyers wheeling by backpack around in the cart. here at least the state park is closer to town than listed in the brochure – the 1.6 miles walk seems easy despite the weight of the food.

A nice woman greets me at the check-in gate, chat with her and there is a good hikerbiker site with space and plenty of trees – I take a hot shower and now i do my laundry (yes a laundromat here) and now feel better, like a different person, having eaten a meal and now wearing clean clothes.

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sunlight

Sun shines today – the solstice has passed – for the next six months the sun’s light will dwindle for us here – though the light does not shift, only our perception of it and its visibility and the need to have faith that it is there. It seems stable for a while, and though days grow and shrink, the shift only becomes perceptible at a certain point, when we notice, closer to the equinoxes, where the half point is achieved. And this year my inner cycle has been thrown off – winter spent further south where the days and nights seem more stable and unchanging, almost equal in their duration. And i think of a conversation a week ago, with someone from the north, dark at 10pm she said – i’m not used to that right now.
The clouds came back late in the day – but i know the light is there, and it shines longer now, longer than the dark – but we always have the light within.

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What a difference the sun can make, opening up one’s horizons to the outer world. Opening up to the wisdom above. i crawl out of the insular world, the cocoon created by the clouds, and the inner reflection brought on by the rain.

Though the sun did shine for two days here, the weekend when all strolled around, the last two days have been cloudy, with periods of rain – not the steady rain predicted on the weather sites, but still, the cold moisture hung in the air. And the mood around changed, in myself, but i also saw it in others, and in the feeling on the emptier streets. People wore heavier coats and did not stroll, moved forward with purpose, of moved slowly – heads and bodies hunkered down. The clouds created a cocoon, one which i crawled into.

The sun came out today, though in reality it never disappeared, hidden only by the clouds above. Even then it shown through for a few minutes at a time, the patches of blue sky were surrounded by the clouds. You would not know when the rain might burst forth, and remained alert, on guard for it, not quite comfortable in the sun. Not quite trusting in its presence, wondering when it would be pulled away like a carpet from under your feet.
I talked with several who had just arrived here, and this was the only weather they saw. from what they could see, this was it, San francisco was a cool damp place. This the only version of the city they knew, and could not imagine it in another light – for except for photographs they had nothing else to go on. Cloudy damp weather was the reality. And they wanted to go to where it was warm. But two days before there had been sun, and that is how i remembered it when i came through over a month ago. And i have also been here during endless days of pouring rain.

The city seems different on a sunny day, and it makes me think about the sun and the clouds we carry inside. How life and ourselves feel one way when the light does shine, and when our eyes are clouded, or we rain inside (or out) how the very same locale can feel very different, and we are often convinced that is the way it is – and not just at the moment. And we want it to change or be complacent in its sweetness. Like the times when weather hangs on endlessly and you begin to feel that is all there is. Be it the sun that lights up the day, or the clouds and rain that hide it away. And at some times and in some locales the weather is the same for days, or even months at a time.

i think of places i have been, marked by definite seasons of wet and dry – much more than here, where you know what to expect, when the rains will come, cycles in time. Predictable or so it seems, enduring, rejoicing or feeling oppressed, but with an idea of when the next one will come. But with global warming or climate change you no longer have an idea of what will really come and then we become unnerved.

And even though we want the light, if that is all it can burn and dry up life. I think of a time last summer, on the eastern side of the sierras, when rain was not to be had, this was normal for the time but it had been dry for many years, in the evenings clouds would gather above the mountains around the valley, and we would listen to thunder and watch the lightning and eagerly wait for rain – which did not come. And i think of sunshine that lasts for long, how you forget to appreciate it each day. When i first got here a month ago, it was sunny after much rain, and you could feel the joy that all contained, and the effort people made to bask in it. but after two weeks the mood had changed, still uplifted but more complacent, was taken for granted, still enjoyed, but without the constant thankfulness put into it.

And i have lived in locales with endless rain, where you sit and wait for the sun. I think of my summer in seward, where clouds loomed above most of the days – a more than two week period of rain (preceded by another not as severe) the rain stopped for an hour one day, and a tiny patch of blue appeared in the sky, and we all pointed to it – blue sky, blue sky, for you had almost forgotten what it looked like, no longer remembered it there. Or like my times in vancouver, in the season of rain, when leaden sky hung endlessly, and then it would lift and the mountains came out, the ones hidden for long, and it you had never been there in the sun, you would have not known that the mountains were there, and many people came and went without even seeing them. And just as too much sun can dry and burn, too much rain can drown all out, as watercourses overflow

Sun and clouds, both within and without, affect both our perceptions of a place and the place itself. What we notice and what we see, but also what is there – it is brown or green, are their leaves, do streams trickle or rush. And so it is within ourselves. And the duration of the periods may be long or short, and the don’t always behave predictably.

Last week was one of those times, where the weather would change many times a day. Not like those place which expect an afternoon rain, or the fog to roll in or out in a pattern of sorts. But then again it is spring – the time of renewal and rebirth, and with that growth uncertainty. The sun peers out in the morning, the sky a brilliant blue, so much more after the rain of the past few days, but then clouds roll in, temperature drops, and air becomes moist. Clouds and rain fly in, unpredictably, appearing from nowhere, and then floating away, a day begins in sun and turns to rain and the back again, or you sit in a patch of blue, see the clouds of different shapes and tones, in all directions, looming around. And you feel unprepared, just not knowing what will come – put it on, take it off, and what do you carry with you? How quickly can you shift, bounce around, unknowing. Can you move with it, live in the moment, or do you get thrown off kilter. But you get through and blossoms bloom and turn to leaves. it is the season of growth, which comes in spurts, and new life comes from within. But you turn around and all has changed, only to bounce back again.

I think of Ireland in the late spring when i was there a few years ago. The saying was if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. And while there were days like that, the changes were more from day to day and not within. I expected rain, and so i was pleasantly surprised, not like those who came to California expecting a warm beach here in San Francisco. In some ways like the weather here of late – a day or two of sun, a few of heavy rain, and the in-between days. In some ways it is my favorite, for you can appreciate all, and get tired of none, and are reminded to live in the moment and the now…and that clinging to what was, just doesn’t work.

The city feels different on a sunny day after a spell of rain, and i learn to appreciate it more.

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