Friday, March 9, 2007

“Ah, the world is sweet and the world is wide…”

I’ve been on the move lately. Driving, walking—a body in motion wants to stay in motion.

Two weekends ago it was to the Oregon Coast. We drove down to Yachats and stayed at the Ocean Haven hotel. It was such a compelling little place. Five rooms, and run (presumably) by a couple (we only met the man, but read mention of the proprietress in the guestbook), it was a hotel on its own rather peculiar terms. No Hummers. Mandatory composting and recycling. Quiet hours strictly enforced. Occupancy numbers strictly enforced.

You have to be a particular type, I think, to appreciate a vacation spot with such potentially restrictive rules. We loved it. The quiet, the earth-friendly atmosphere, the proximity to such spectacular natural beauty (Cape Perpetua is remarkable…)—these things were just up our alley. Weeks later, I still find myself inspired to commune with my compost bin and wash and re-use my plastic bread bags and zip-locs. My mother would be proud.

The Oregon coast south of Yachats has a distinctly rugged feel that other, more “settled” parts of the coast lack. Perhaps our timing had some influence on that—the edges of a storm blown down from Alaska were rolling in during our stay. On Sunday, there were National Weather Alert warnings advising us to steer clear of the beaches unless we wanted to be swept away by the pounding, churning, crashing, and smashing 30-foot MONSTER WAVES. It seemed a little extreme, but the waves were awfully large, and there were a number of beach-front waysides temporarily closed due to high surf advisories. Hooray for ruggedness and the great outdoors.

Since that blustery weekend—torrential rain, gusty winds, several inches of snow in the usually mild Oregon Coast Range—we’ve been gifted with glorious weather. Getting up is only half as difficult when the sun is streaming through the gaps in the curtains. The daffodils are blooming around town and the grass-seed farms are sprouting acre upon acre of glowing green lusciousness out in the valleys. Oh, and it is 65 degrees outside.

The sun is warm and the soft winds ride
On a willow tree by the riverside

* * *

In other news, the hawks that were frequenting the roof of my office building (just above my window) have been replaced by a flock of large black crows. I miss the hawks. They were more spectacular to watch. As smart as they are, crows flying just don’t really compare.

* * *

There is a Catholic church across the street from my office building. The church bells chime every day at noon, and it’s been an excellent means by which to gauge the progression of my day. Today they started ringing early—at 10:45. I was a little thrown off, especially when they kept chiming and chiming with a slow, morose cadence. Curious, I walked over to a window with a view in that direction, and saw individuals dressed formally in black, several priests, a coffin and a hearse. Members of the funeral procession draped an American flag over the casket. I can only assume that means the deceased was in the military or a public service employee.

While a funeral in and of itself isn’t too terribly remarkable (we all will die eventually, right), I somehow didn’t expect to see one in the middle of the city with people in office buildings crowded all around, looking down on the event. It seems like funerals should happen out in green, wide-open spaces where everyone in the near proximity pauses to reflect and respect. There seems to be something sacrilegious about holding a service when people are reading snarky e-mails and forwarding pictures of the presidents dressed up like ladies in the tall office buildings nearby. I guess we aren’t allowed to choose, though, exactly when and where we go.

The other aspect of this moment that struck me as photographically “fitting” was the arrival of 10 school busses packed with children. Off to see a mid-day play at the nearby Keller Auditorium, as the casket was being carried to the hearse, the long yellow busses were overflowing and spilling hundreds of children from their doors. Church bells on one side of the street, screams and laughter on the other. The metaphors, imagery, and sense of circular completion was quite intellectually satisfying.


CV said...

Beautiful post! Thank you. :)

Celeste said...

Lovely! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Your pictures are stunning.

Oh, and btw, you work a block from my high school. :D