Monday, August 17, 2015

Wheeler Oregon

Stay at the Old Wheeler Hotel. Katy nourishes and nurtures her guests. The view from the breakfast room is soothing. The atmosphere invites new friendships and stimulating conversation. Bring kayaks and hiking shoes. We saw thirty five pound fish caught in the Nehalem River Estuary. The water trail is lengthy, winding and twisting through marshland filled with wildlife. Seeing Manzanita and Nehalem from the water instead of the road is a picturesque treat.

Oswald West State Park is a lovely beach 10 miles north. The swinging bridge leads to the cove - a beach flanked on either side by craggy rocks pounded by surf. Watch surfers. Make a bonfire. Poke around in the tide pools and dare to enter the cave.

Ride the train from Garibaldi to Wheeler, or the short version to Rockaway Beach. The whistle calls. Puffs of steam soften the iron wheels and track to a dreamy state and take you back in time. People wave. Children wave. Merchants wave. Whole hearted greetings and a welcome like this eases tension between your shoulder blades. If you tend to lose heart about the condition of our culture and wonder what will become of us all….take heart. People still do. Play. And recreate in natural surroundings that restore. Go. Come along. Do.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On a Bench at Seattle Center

He had clean clothes, a cell phone,
and a full backpack. His tone
was engaging and friendly
when he approached to give
Loverby kudos for nibbling
on my ear as we sat on a park bench
by the water fountain watching
children dance, drenched.
The conversational tape
repeated the same worn out
track getting stuck and
coming back again and again
to homelessness and spankings from a brutal
mother whose holiness required
them both to enjoy the punishment
disguised as discipline. He witnessed paternal
incest destroy his sister as she gave
birth to his biological sister
convoluted as niece. He knew the
color purple too, not as a book or
movie - but by the bruises of war,
and the rejection of two wives. He cried.
I wanted them to be real tears. I wanted him
to feel heard and seen. Isn't that better than
money? When he got around
to get what he came for, our simple and firm
no  made his anger
flair - all his goodwill
flew away stirred
by his flailing arms.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Give me silence
without a hum -
no words trafficking,
highjacking, jamming
the quiet begging to heal like

Give me silence
floating like a feather
unworried upon gentle swells
obeying the quarter moon's
tidal ebb and flow,

Give me silence
and teach me to wait  -
for without a spigot controlling
release I spill brokenness
like a stricken, breached

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Westport Washington August 2015

When we need real waves 
and working docks we head to Westport 
where men wearing yellow waterproofs
suspended from their shoulders 
still stack crab pots 
and pile nets in particular 
order. Their calloused hands drag
bounty from the sea caught thirty miles 
from shore. Working boats with 
booms and full fantails take on tons
of ice and return with invisible waterlines
heavy with a day's catch. 

This place doesn't need a ticket. There 
are no lines and the parking is free. Watch masters of fillet,
pelicans, seals, surfers, and dad's building sand 
castles with their children. Starfish decorate the rocks. 
Look for block and tackle, boat cats sunbathing in portholes,
raccoons washing dinner, patches of ingenuity,
kites, and seal lions appropriating buoys for
their own territory. 

I wish the merchants wouldn't try to sell contrived 
baskets of shells from some island far away
wrapped in cellophane. Stale salt water taffy
strikes an unnecessary pose as well. It's one of the last 
places that doesn't know how to advertise 
their obvious assets. Secretive on purpose? 

Westport is shabby and worn. It stinks of fish at low tide. 
Hallelujah and amen - let it continue to be. 
Seagulls are as lazy as rice christians and it seems
they are incapable of hunting because fish guts
abound. But when was the last time
you saw a baby seagull? The remains of a telephone 
booth and rotting hulls hide around every corner. 

If you go, take your bicycle. The trail along the beach
will lead you to history where you can still climb lighthouse
stairs and touch the brass and glass and stone. Stay 
at the Marina Cottages and wake up early
 to a harbor working hard right off your porch -
 no posters, no movie set, no props. 
Take your camera, aim and shoot for real. Let 
the mournful fog horn sounding at regular
intervals at the end of the jetty 
guide you.