Sunday, October 24, 2021

Images of a Coastal Trip Stored for Winter Browsing

When there is snow on the ground this winter and its dark in the canyon by 5 o'clock, sometimes I'll picture the coast as I saw it in late summer. I'll remember the the smooth glide of the seals under their brillantly-colored toys in the tank at the Newport Aquarium or the silly-looking seaside telescope surveying Nelscott Beach.

I'll remember the feel of the cool sand on my bare feet on the evening walk on Nelscott Beach or the hip pain of trudging through the thick white sand on the Oregon Dunes—each step sinking deep while the dune grass shadows beckoned us onward encouragingly. 

At Agate Beach I had to stand on my tiptoes to catch a glimpse of Yaquina Lighthouse over the sand dunes that were level with my head as I walked down to the water. The lighthouse appeared like a white pencil tip stuck on the hills over the top of a dune. Can you find it?

A lighthouse is a beacon for tourists like me. During an earlier winter, the memory of the red and white lenses at the Umpqua Lighthouse warmed my thoughts. This summer I got to climb up into the lighthouse's cap of lenses and was bathed in a pinkish light. It was glorious!

Who isn't moved by the perpendicular lines of a lighthouse?

My sister and I visited the old Coast Guard Station house next to the Umpqua Lighthouse. We wandered it's rooms, and read tales of heroism. What vision will stay in my mind from visiting it, might you ask?  I think it will be the light and brush of leaves against a window—in the women's bathroom. Not a particularly historic spot, but stunning nevertheless.

During this winter's gloom-filled evenings, I'll also recall the colors of sea-nurtured life in a tidepool below Yaquina Lighthouse. 

And I'll remember the brillance of jellyfish—those washed ashore on beaches and those blue ones, perpetually floating in the water of a tank at the nearby Newport Aquarium. The jellyfish tossed on the sand by incoming waves can't survive outside the water. They act as prisms until their water-filled bodies drain and their skins' dissolve or are reclaimed by the sea.

If those images are not enough, there is always sunset at Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. 

Maybe I should think about reserving a room on the beach in the January or February. It might not all be the color of winter fog gray and certainly not snow white.

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