Monday, May 17, 2010

Hello Cowgirl in the Sand

When last I saw you, I believe I mentioned a little adventure I was about to embark upon. I am feeling like telling you all about it. I do think I am about to "spin quite a yarn" for you just now. You may like to get yourself into a comfortable "yarn spinning" position...

I am headed to the sea where a little cottage waits for me...
I am collecting things. I'm making lists in my head. I am chasing the ribbon of hwy 18 through the corridor, past the blind curve where I once got a flat tire with nothing to spare. There, I was rescued by 'fresh from the hunt' cousins in an old Ford truck, fresh buck staring and bleeding in the rusted bed. They were loggers from Willamina. Nice as could be those two, even gave me the outside seat in the cab - the one next to the door. Put me right at ease, though I still gripped the screw driver inside the pocket of my "western breakfast" (old sheepskin coat). Shame on me.

I'm heading out on my yearly lone wolf trip to the coast. It's a tradition. (In fact, I do believe it's in the pre-nuptial contract I made the Engineer sign.) There is no anniversary date I hold to, I go when my soul needs it most and the coffers hold more than lint. I anticipate it with an almost Pavlovian drool. A muscle memory. I know this road as well as my own breath, from here to just beyond the California border. After all these years, the drive has become a meditation on history - the land's...my own.


My particular relationship with this landscape is smudged by a multi-generational experience; my singular memories are mixed with the recall of my parents, grandparents and a great, great somebody attached to my line. I am related to the Crabtrees and the Turners *(the names of old Oregon towns), I have read a letter from my great grand uncle Taulton Turner, sent from, "Portland! What a town!" after a few days ride from *Scio on horseback. I am kin to the first white baby born in Linn County. One of my greats gave birth to twins - on a raft - while harrowing the Willamette River! Of course, I can't be sure of that, for our family has never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

The ritual begins with loading up the car. Camera, guitar, boom box, music, journals, sketchbooks, a comfy cardi and a sense of anticipation. Then, it's off down the highway. As I slide 'round another bend, I look up the country road where I once lived. An exceptional year in the woods, living on a few acres in a 1967 Airstream caravan next to a babbling brook. That was a long time ago.


When I hit Hwy 101, I know I'm close to my first stop. The local thrift - in hopes of scoring a weekend sweater, a curio of odd delight or an obscure book of Rod McKuen poems for a friend. This trip, I only find baggy beach pants and some happy daisy sheets. Then I take off my shoes and walk the fine grit sand of the southern bay before lunch.

When it is finally check in time, I greet the woman behind the desk; Starla is her name and she's worked here longer than the many years I have been coming to this place. I get the key to my cottage. The first thing I do after unloading the car, is to re-arrange all the furniture (don't fret, I put it all back into it's proper place before I leave). I open the windows wide to let in the briny air.

Now it's time to pour a glass of wine and sit - to breathe a deep breath, to slow my racing pulse, to gaze out at my view. What I see nearly makes me weep with the beauty of it.

I sit until dark, listening to the surf. Tomorrow I will wake early and take the trail down to the beach, seeking low tide.

...and tomorrow I will finish my yarn, for there is more to tell.

13 comments:

lifeshighway said...

How amazing that you take a yearly pilgrimage to reconnect with yourself. We should all do this. Why did I never think of it?

I can smell the salty air. I grew up on the coast and the ocean calls to me.

Sherri B. said...

Oh how wonderful for you! I have traveled the same many a time...Every summer and 2 long weekends a year...Mine was Lincoln City, the same beachfront home until new owners changed it all and no dogs allowed so it is no more but I will live through your story, I can smell the air as I type. Sigh..

katieb said...

great photos! happy to hear you are enjoying your trip~ welcome back~

Floss said...

Wow! This is a pre-nup arrangement worth having! I am so enthralled by your story, and can't wait to hear more. Thanks!

Little Ted Canvas said...

This sounds jut so wonderful! Reading your little getaway post is like reading a great book, can't wait for the next installment...enjoy! Though it seems it would be hard not to...

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

yay! It sounds absolutely brilliant- i lvoe that salty air smell- that is the smell of childhood holidays... so nice to go away by yourself... what a great idea.

CHILDHOOD MAGIC said...

This is pretty bad-ass of you! I am so impressed! You can tell your spirit thrives on these solo getaways, just by the way you've written this post. So enthralling. Love it!

Anonymous said...

a yarn well woven..is that right?

any old way welcome back my friend!

d

Tas said...

Wow. I want to hear more...

jus said...

I have a mantra that I live by...never accept a lift from anyone with a toothless grin and a banjo in the backseat. Too much 'the hills have eyes' as an impressionable teen I'm afraid x

crzylady said...

very "Gift from the Sea"
and very inspiring :) Can't wait to hear the rest and hope to be able to afford myself the time to start a similar tradition :)

ecoMILF said...

Oh my goodness I am drooling just thinking of such a calming escape. What a lovely thing to do when you need it most. I am definitely thinking of adding a roadtrip like that to my "contract"... when the littlies are older. I'm far too much of an attached mama to brave it now. Enjoy every precious and magical moment. (unless you are back now and this is your tale of events.... in that case I hope you had a lovely itme and welcome home) xo m.

A Bun Can Dance said...

Truly inspirational -
Good for you, Alex, that you have this yearly pilgrimage - and to the sea - the sea! No better place!
I've not been by for a while, and now I've found all these wonderful posts you've written - I feel as if I've entered a new, beautiful, world,
sending you big hugs for happy days,
Denise x