10 June 2011


Morningtime. I'm sitting at ocean's side, my toes bare and my jacket buffeting the winds from the surf. The sand is surprisingly warm and cozy for burying my feet up to the ankles. I've been walking around dropping pretty stones in my pocket, all smooth and rounded from the tide's constant tumbling. I feel like Amelie, when she keeps picking up skipping rocks and plunking them quietly into her sweater with a funny little unassuming pucker on her face. I just wish I were as adept as she when it comes to making them hop lightly across the water's surface. I've never been good at skipping rocks, ever.

Neahkahnie sits up there, daring me, begging me, threatening me. I must go. I just have to. Besides, the cinnamon-cardamom roll from Bread and Ocean needs to be counteracted. Fair sun is about to show herself, and the wafting hints of warmth are delicious. The anticipation of her full rays is enough to keep me out from under any and all roofs on this charmer of a day.
The ancient, stoic trees. They move me. They render me agog and without words. This is already my phone wallpaper. You have my permission to download it and use it for yours, too.

Hey, there's a bench. Would you believe that I didn't even sit down?

What you can't really tell here is that I was at an elevation of 1600 and that's the Pacific down there. Unpredictability is the only predictable thing on a mountaintop. Salty sweat mixed with ocean mist, pine-scented, the loudest quiet, perfect solitude. It was splendid.

I just saw an almost entirely shaved Chihuahua named "Erica" and wearing a camouflage doggie-t-shirt chase a German Shepherd (five times her size) all the way up the beach and onto the sidewalk. This is MY beach, bitch! she seemed to balk. Will wonders never cease! That was rich. I know folks do it every day without blinking, but that doesn't lessen the small exhiliration I feel at the fact that I just climbed that mountain right there, made it to the tippy-top, got showered with the heavy mist which currently envelops its peak, then made it back down in the sunshine (finally), came straight to the water's edge and washed off the trail dust (mud) in the foamy green surf and am now enjoying the filtered glow of fickle lady Sun with my favorite log, Lola. What a round!

I do love the mystery and tension of those shadowed, wooded trails, but oh how I revel in the wideness, the nuanced colors, the tactile qualities, the wildness in the churning water, the virtues, all shining and lovely (until a tsunami), of the shore.

A cute little cottage, typical Manzanita.

Vino. I heard Dixie, the owner and my server, say something about a local lady who is famous for her pies. Name, Billie. There was one such pie in the kitchen (she doesn't bake much anymore, she and her husband have both taken ill). What's that you say? Marionberry? Homemade ice cream? Hells yes. I asked the stiff, unemotive white-haired lady to my right how it tasted. She had a piece she'd plowed her way through, sans expression. "Mhm. It's good." Er, so when I took my first bite and was just about sucked up into the lower heavenlies, I understood afresh that we humans have different modes of emotion and certainly different pie-goodness scales. HOLY MARIONBERRY. Just sweet enough, just tart enough, full berries yet intact, a shattery crust with a finish of buttery chewiness, cold, smooth ice cream....oh man. Now I know why I hiked.

After offering gratuitous thanks and settling up, I was drawn oceanward, once again. Couldn't help it, though the wind picked up and chilled me through. I was rewarded by a stunning peachy display of parting clouds with ominous, green-grey ones in the far off places. "Don't forget about us" they mumbled with warning tones. But fair Sun broke through and held them at bay. I stood and drank it: the color, the crashing, the screaming gulls, that constant mountaintop with its tempestuous and fickle rounds of lovers, soft banks of mist and fog.