Manzanita. The fire crackles in front of me, bare toes warmed by the licking orange flames. I wonder what kind of wood this is? I think some parts of heaven will smell like this. The ocean pounds the sand several blocks down. Muddy Waters offers his soulful crying to the evening, mixing with the noisy crows cawing above me on a line. Loudmouth little bastards. I've achieved the perfect balance of body temperature via: jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket, bare feet, smoldering fire.....wine. (Funny though, Muddy is now singing "Cold Weather Blues.")
The drive from Portland turned out to automatically flip a switch in me, one I didn't realize could be flipped so automatically. I thought my change of venue would take some time to warm up/cool down to. Nope.
Paul Simon and Fleet Foxes accompanied me through the forever-tall, mysterious, dappled bluegreen woods, all dotted with what looked a lot like forsythia. Not so, smarty pants. Upon asking, I learned it's something called Scotch Broom which folks around here hate. It's a strangler of other native inhabitants which would also like a chance at growing (sort of like their version of kudzu?), so as soon as it gives itself up with the startling yellow, they all go out and cut it down/yank it from the ground as quickly as they can. I passed lots of logging trucks, couldn't help but think of the theme from Twin Peaks and wish vehemently that I'd had it on my iPod (note to self). Also saw lots of Subarus, old trucks (thump-thump went my heart) and self-sustaining homesteads...must be in the Pacific Northwest, methinks. And all of a sudden, around a bend I came and WHAM! Rocks!
Gigantic, monstrous rocks in the THWACKK! Ocean!!! There's the ocean. And there, friends, is the end of the land. The very edge of our nation, where it just stops being America...I don't know how it can affect me as deeply as it does every single time but it's just so grand. Add to that boulders dropped from the very grasp of the Almighty into the drink (that's how I like to think of it) and whoa.
So I snaked southward and hit 101 and ended up in sweet little Manzanita. The clouds were hugging the landscape in a tight embrace, not really wanting to let go. It felt cozy and muffled but still wild, unpredictable. Hardy. Buffeted. Shingled buildings hunker down along the main drag called Laneda. I don't recall seeing a stop light.
I've been sitting alone by this fire for what seems, now, like many moons. I'm breathing more deeply. Sighing a lot. Exceedingly happy to have lots of air and trees and quiet and birds around me (even if some of them are crows). I may have misjudged my city girl to country girl ratio. The hushed mood around here is pure medicine.
I'm cobbling together a fireside picnic. They had cute little homemade s'more kits and fruit on the table in the cabin, so that'll be the start. I got some "Loukanika" salami (Greeky with orange peel, cumin, oregano) from Olympic Provisions and some pickled okra from the farmer's market. I meant to take them home but, er, I'm going to eat them here instead. Promises to be tasty, especially when a slice of charcuterie ends up on the actual s'more. Oh. Oh yes sir.