Washington in February may have been a misguided vacation plan. Sub-freezing temps, every layer of clothing I own, more miles of walking and more sitting in the car than is good for me - I kept hearing Little Feat's Old Folks Boogie: "And you know, that you're over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill."
A pink sunrise and calm seas was an auspicious start for our return trip home, with stops at churning, restless waters, grand bridges, stunning viewpoints, and a steep muddy hike.
When we planned this four day vacation last month, I assumed it would be a storm watching trip, and found a hotel with lots of windows right smack up to the water. I envisioned cozy indoor time in our little nest, gazing out at the wild surf.... The rain swept in as a steady flow from the south. Looking out the window started to feel like being snow blind - white on white, with barely a glimmer of blue or green.
Day two of an Oregon adventure. Setting off southward, we drove and stopped and drove and hiked and drove and stopped some more. That's the Oregon coast, thick with rest stops, viewpoints, waysides, and more. You can't get far because you want to stop at them all.
Finally, everything aligned, and it was time to get out to the Oregon coast. I packed every bit of warm clothing, binoculars and bird books, notebooks and fiction, and we set out to the south in a drizzle. The sky was a tumult of grays and whites, and we drove over rivers, between pastures, past wetlands and bogs...
After the planning, the waiting, the prepping, and the packing, driving out to the Oregon coast from Portland is a dreamy transition. Then, Pacific City's wide empty beaches are all ours.
Around each turn road signs point into the dense forest, beckoning toward hidden pleasures lying in wait: a thousand trails, over a hundred lakes, and a variety of landscapes and viewpoints beyond.
Rivers call out for a song, their various facets and qualities changing and amorphous - the meandering or rollicking currents, the broad then narrow passages, rolling reflections and scenery, the power that lies beneath the seemingly endless flow. Roll along with me...
Mounds of lava pile up near Oregon's eastside rivers and roads, a bleak, barren sideshow alongside all the greenery. Standing in the midst of it is to be in another world, mind swept clean.
Some birthdays are passed in celebration, some with dread, and some like this last one, with just a nod and a shrug, acknowledging the passage of time. And another hike around Ridgefield Nature Preserve.