Howdy everyone and my apologies to those of you in markets where my article was missed last week! I have an excuse and probably not that good of one, but I’m going to run it by you anyway.
With all the wind, fog, cold weather and rough ocean conditions we have been experiencing lately on the Oregon Coast, we decided to take a couple days and head to the wilderness. Our destination isn’t that far — less than an hour from the shop — but the land we have access to is warm, sunny and full of life, with creeks and streams in abundance.
It is also a place with no cell service and almost no outside contact with others.
After being out here a short time, I didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t leave. The evening rustle of the trees, the sound of grass blades rubbing against one another, and the constant splashing and tumbling of the flowing water below my camp can only be translated as “stay here, don’t leave.”
When darkness falls, I will light the Coleman lantern and heater in the wall tent and, soon after, we will all fall fast asleep. The particular time of day doesn’t matter out here. Dark means sleep, light means wake up, and hot summer sun means play and explore.
As I write this, I am at a folding plastic camp table alongside my tent with the view to accompany the sounds I just mentioned. The light of the day slowly fades and with it the warmth and life that accompanied it.
I traded my daytime swimming trunks and baseball cap for a pair of old woodland camouflage pants, long sleeved Basin Tackle sweatshirt and a wool cap. I’ll probably sleep in them too — you can do these things in the woods.
My 5-year-old daughter, Olivia, just exclaimed to her sister from the water’s edge.
“Abby I caught a salamander,” she said with an excitement that I can fully recall from my own childhood. In fact, I would say I still often get that excited by new discoveries and adventures.
Olivia now just ran up to tell me the news and to regale me with the play by play of how this amazing capture took place and how she plans on keeping her new-found friend that she’s naming either Jeffrey, George or Pepsi.
Sometime after the little ones have fallen asleep I will scoop Jeffrey, George or Pepsi out of the bucket and set him free. A momma duck and her ducklings are now swimming by and the evening choruses of frogs are sounding nature’s taps to signal the days end.
Yeah, this is why I’m still out here. I am so disconnected from what’s going on outside my current little paradise I can’t even give you a fishing report, but I can tell you with absolute certainty there is an abundance of salamanders (pretty sure Jeffrey, George or Pepsi is actually a newt, mind you), small fish, wildlife, bugs and crawfish to keep y’all busy all summer long.
I love that my five- and eight-year-old say “Daddo can we have a crawfish boil this week, we love crawfish” and actually say those words, in that order, fully understanding what they are asking for.
Is that even a thing anymore? Do families catch crawfish and eat them? I sure hope so; it’s a simple thing both primitive and bonding that will create memories to last generations.
Earlier this week in our little piece of paradise I was sitting on the water’s edge listening to music. There’s one particular artist of some international fame that I have been following for some years now.
Her name is Lorenna Mckennit and she has a penchant for taking classical poetry and translating it to lyrical and musical form. I was listening to one of my favorites, “The Lady of Shallot” by Lord Alfred Tennison (1809-1892).
For those of you not familiar with this piece of beautiful tragedy, I shall summarize it for you.
A lady in the far off medieval land of Camelot was cursed to live her days in a tower and not interact with the world outside, with the exception of viewing it through her mirror’s reflection of her open window. The Lady of Shallot lived her life in this state until the day she saw something she could not let pass by.
At this, she left her mirror, and her room, and ran down the tower’s spiral staircase to become part of the world outside and to truly live life for the first time.
She knew what she had done and what the ramifications would be, but she sang out loud in joy and upon this fiery embrace of life she, well, died.
I love this story not for the tragedy, but for the chance she took. The last thing she did was embrace life, shucking off the things that bound her and, for a brief shining moment, she truly lived.
At the end, in that moment of her death, the object of her affections that drew her outside the safety of her cursed existence saw and recognized her and through that recognition her life was complete. Truly a beautiful tragedy.
Being out here in this amazing piece of creation makes me reflect upon such things. It reminds me that we must take chances; that we must experience life; and that we must share these moments with others.
It is too easy to get caught up in both the mundanity and chaos of modern life and forget the beauty of simplicity.
I share these moments now, not just with those with me today but with those of you that read what I have to say on a weekly basis.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the feedback I get from so many of you astonishes me, humbles me and means the world to me. Thank you.
When I’m out here I feel the hand of God, I remember those I’ve lost, I cherish those I have and I strive to make memories and teach lessons to the two little loves of my life and I am honored to have you along with us on our journey.
It’s dark now, time to shut down camp for the day. Tomorrow, I have to head into town to send what I’ve written here. Next week, we’ll probably talk about newts or salamanders or some such thing. I bid you adieu until next week, my friends.
I hope to see you out there making memories with and for those you cherish.
Oh, and as a friendly reminder: When you think you are starting to get sun burned, it’s already far too late.