Sunday, April 13, 2014

That Was Then

Back in the summer, VR (an online friend in Manitoba) assigned me to get some salt water photos. Then I didn't hear from her for a long time, and worried. Well we are both still here, if barely, and happy to be reminded that we had the ocean when we had it.

Re-running August 26th, 2013. Pelicans on the move, Rialto Beach. (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ocean in View Post #980

This post is actually being written by RF, who is in Port Angeles visiting Miriam for several days. Life's vicissitudes are unfortunately leading not only to the waning of the blog but to the necessity for Miriam to leave this spectacularly lush and beautiful part of the world to return to one associated with beauty of a very different and far more austere kind for the remainder of her days.

I for one have enjoyed reading the posts from afar, and feel that the blog deserves some kind of ceremony in honor of its cessation. Finding out that this post is the 980th to be published makes me want to try to figure out some way to squeeze out another 20, so that it can celebrate post #1000, but I don't think that it's going to happen. Speaking on behalf of Miriam, I would like to thank everyone who has read or commented over the years. I also want to encourage anyone reading this to remember to keep your eyes open to the wonders of both the natural and human-constructed worlds, and to help others share in the sensations to be had.

If there is no post #981, take care. If there is a post #981, we'll see you then.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

After Long Silence

It's the camera's fault. It insists on not being unloaded. No pix = nothing happened. Also no record, no memory, no way to date events. Have I been to Portland twice or three times since last post? Did I get to the ocean? Who am I anyway?

Lucy Lippard says in Time and Time Again, "Photography has become essential in narrating personal experience." No pix = no narrative.

I have nothing to say really until after tomorrow's scans in Portland, and then probably not here. This is not a cancer blog, it's the beach-bunny blog, the joy-of-living-in-paradise blog; and that I don't have in my life any more.

Soundtrack: 'Have I stayed too long at the fair?' And... 'And wasn't it a long way down, wasn't it a strange way down?'

Thx to Lori Marx-Rubiner @regrounding for moving me this morning to say SOMETHING.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Even More Blue, and Beyond Perfect Blue

While this blog was hiding under a rock, I went twice to the outer coast. Was trying out doing it as an overnight trip with motel, instead of a daytrip, to get around my energy problem. It works.

Trip #1: So it took me 5 hours to get out of the house on October 13, then finally I'm rolling determinedly toward Rialto Beach and three miles short of the beach

guess what

Roadblock.

Rialto Beach is in the PARK. At not one single moment in the five days that I had been planning this did it cross my mind that the #shutdown I had been following obsessively had SHUT DOWN MY PARK.

Easy enough to re-direct. First Beach is on the Quileute Rez, under tribal control (not the Park). So I went to La Push. Very warm. Very quiet ocean. I put on my water shoes for a little while. Not THAT warm. Put back on the boots and socks. Read for a while.

Quileute Needles, October 13, 2013. (Click for larger image.)
Wet feet, October 13, 2013. (Click for larger image.)

Sat in the car on the point overlooking First Beach. Tide coming in, ever so peaceably. Just a few pelicans cruised out towards James Island. Still reading. As IJ reminded me, I can read anywhere. Have often used that fact to get me on the road to Rialto in the past. Wouldn't I rather read to the sound of waves? Yes of course I would.

Hadn't been able to get a reservation in the motel in La Push, so eventually I adjourned to the Pacific Inn Motel in Forks. Supper in the diner. Later I wanted a snack and wandered on down the street looking for the convenience store I thought was there. [Not; that was a floating bit of crosswired memory: in Socorro, NM, the same configuration: motel and diner on the west side of a street in a town at convenient run-away distance from home and near someplace beautiful that I really wanted to be. No little convenience store a block or two down-highway from the Pacific Inn in Forks...]

In the morning, back out to La Push, to First Beach. It was even more blue, and just as peaceable. Watched the tribal fishermen working their nets in the river mouth for a long time. Then wandered home.

Even More Blue, October 14, 2013 (Click for larger image.)
Working in the quiet. October 14, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

As pictures go, very much always-the-same-place. First Beach always looks like First Beach. But each occasion is its own self. Today's shirt-pocket full of small smooth pebbles are different from all the others, have their own parking place on the desk. Today's photos of the Quileute Needles are not the same as last fall's or next month's, even when they are the same.


Trip #2: For October 27 I did have a reservation in La Push: second floor, ocean view, thank you very much. The weather was beyond perfect blue. I myself wasn't feeling too crisp, but off I went to Rialto Beach. All I really wanted to do was read my book so I wandered not very far to the south from the parking lot, and sat by a log, and read.

Rialto Beach, October 27, 2013 (Click for larger image.)
Beyond Perfect Blue, Rialto Beach, October 27, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

When it got cold sitting there, even in the sun, I drove around to La Push and checked into the Thunderbird. Room 112. Upstairs. Opened the curtains. Opened the sliding door to the little deck outside the room. I had a bed, a couch, a kitchenette, books to read, a deck, and the entire Pacific Ocean. And I thought I might just move in permanently. Never leave. It's been a long time since I had such an upsweep of delight.

There was not much swell, through the night with the windows closed I could hear only the occasional larger waves. Thump-boom-swoosh reaching in through the glass. In the morning, a soft and subtle sunrise, a perfect blue horizon. The sunlight arrived on the sea stacks and on James Island.

October 28, 2013. Before sunrise, James Island. (Click for larger image.)

Still not feeling very well, I just hung around sipping coffee and looking out the windows until checkout time, watching the waves break peaceably on the shore of First Beach.

Sunlight and waves, First Beach. (Click for larger image.)

Then I headed home without even going down to the beach, while I still had as much fresh energy and focus as there is available on a zombie day. Do you see? I can go be at the ocean even when I don't really feel well. This is epic.

Thanks to Olympic National Park, for Rialto Beach, and to the Quileute tribe for room 112.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Twice to Portland

While this blog was hiding under a rock, I had two trips to Portland for the monthly medical adventure. The October 6/7 trip was an Angel Flight magic carpet ride. Multo thanks to southbound pilot Norman Rittenhouse, and northbound pilot Paul Danis, and to the whole AngelFlight organization.

Port Angeles airport was fogged in all morning, so Mr. Rittenhouse suggested we fly out of Sequim Valley Airport (adding another airport to my collection of "little airports everywhere") and on down to Hillsboro. We parked at Premier Jet Fuel, and the nice fellow behind the desk in the FBO office offered me a ride down to the lightrail station, I didn't even have to make the 15-minute walk. Lightrail, streetcar, into the motel...

October 6, 2013. Sequim Valley Airport in a bubble of sunshine. Olympic Mountains on the skyline. (Click for larger image.)
In the Piper Cherokee. (Click for larger image.)
Arrival at Hillsboro (Click for larger image.)
Heading downtown on the Max Blue Line in Sunday afternoon quiet. October 7, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

In the morning: streetcar to OHSU, appointment with Big Medicine, taxicab back out to Hillsboro (time was tight), and flight back to Sequim Valley Airport with Paul Danis.We flew IFR (instrument flight rules) almost all the way, in and out of clouds, hugging the eastern margin of the Olympics. Angled down through the ceiling and there we were. Whee.

Kind of beautiful out, Hillsboro Airport, October 7, 2013 (Click for larger image.)
In the Piper Comanche (Click for larger image.)
Mountaintops appear for a moment. (Click for larger image.)
Back at Sequim. (Click for larger image.)
It was getting late. He flew away immediately. (Click for larger image.)

Thank you to Angel Flight and to my pilots, for helping make the monthly trek to Portland (and my continuing participation in the clinical trial) possible.


KF came up from Marin County for the November 3/4 trip. It was just glorious to have a friend to talk to for four days. Southbound on November 3rd, we entertained ourselves with portraits of the HammaHamma River's pair of rainbow arch bridges. KF got better pictures but I can't find them right this minute. After settling in to the motel, we took the streetcar to Powell's, spent money on a pile of books, supper in the noodle shop I fancy when making my pilgrimage to the cathedral of books, streetcar back. In the morning, November 4, the medical business (somewhat complicated this time, and a good thing I had a second pair of ears along, it had been a hard month). Then before we hit the road, a joyride to the top of the tram, which KF had heard about. Then zip for home. Explored a new exit for bathroom and food break along I-5. Once again blew past Falls View Campground along Hood Canal; one of these trips I will remember to stop and see what the Big Quilcene River looks like falling out of the mountains there.

Thanks to KF too, for making the clinical trial journey a do-able thing. I really can't do this alone.

South Hamma Hamma bridges, along Hood Canal, November 3, 2013. (Click for larger image.)
Thanks to OHSU for the free ride on the Portland Aerial Tram :-) November 4, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Among the Things I Didn't Do This Summer and Fall

Didn't fill the freezer with blackberries picked from the streetside bushes around the corner.

Didn't get up the Sol Duc River to watch the coho salmon jumping at Salmon Cascades.

Didn't go out to Obstruction Point, so didn't see any marmots.

No blackberries in 2013. No salmon in 2013. No marmots in 2013. And damn near no blogging. Um, in that case who am I and why am I here??

August 26, 2013. Rialto Beach. Photo by JL. She's good, isn't she? (Click for larger image.)

For Rialto Beach, thankyou Olympic National Park.

Shout-out to @JudeCallirgos whose recent blog post reminded me to try again to keep a record and communicate. No blog --> no memory. This beach-bunny blog doesn't have much to do with what's really going on in my life right now, but that's not the problem. I just don't much wanna talk except in 140-character bursts. I don't even wanna take pictures.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Still Raining, For Heaven's Sake

All weekend, on and off, it rained. This morning we had a grey, pink and blue sunrise, then it rained some more.

Sunrise, September 30, 2013, from Port Angeles's west side (Click for larger image.)

The river jumped up exactly as predicted.

(Click for larger image.)

At the last possible moment in the water year, the rain pushed the precipitation measure at the Waterhole Snotel over last year's total (look at the red line).

(Click for larger image.)

Last night, it snowed just a little at the Visitor Center on Hurricane Ridge.

(Click for larger image.)

I don't do this often, but this post is a mirror of what I put on the tribe's Education Department blog this morning. The sunrise photos are, after all, from my own deck...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rain Lovely Rain

It's been raining the way non-local people imagine it rains here. Rain rain rain. All the yards on the alley, and up and down our street, are green. The river has jumped up, and will go higher.

Forecast for the Elwha River (Click for larger image.)

On Thursday there was the first snow up on the mountain, now washed away by todays warmer rain. Monday is the end of the water year, and it looks like this weekend will put us over last year's curve.

The gauge at the Waterhole SnoTel on Hurricane Ridge (Click for larger image.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

About That Water Horizon

Out on the deck in my flannel nightie, taking pictures. My attention zooms, the camera zooms. This is what I see, and show:

Before sunrise, September 20, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

but it's barely ten degrees of the 360-degree horizon. 3% of the full circle. View below is zoomed back out to more like reality, about 50 degrees of the circle; there are bits of water over the roofs to east and west, though the only substantial bit is the one at the end of the street that I usually focus on.

... (Click for larger image or you won't see the water at all.)
...

This one is for Kate.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

As Promised, A Glimpse of the Salt

Morning. Blue but hazy day, sunshine and no fog, but thick thick moist air; you can't see Canada across the Strait.

September 18, 2013, morning; the neighborhood, the Strait (Click for larger image.)

The harbor, Ediz Hook, a freighter passing on the Strait just beyond the Hook, but still no Canada through the thick air.

September 18,2013, midday. Port Angeles Harbor from the third floor of the Landing building. (Click for larger image.)

Afternoon. The Strait. If you are determined to puzzle it out, you can see Victoria: the profile of Mount Douglas, and the buildings around the Inner Harbor, but fuzzy fuzzy.

September 18, 2013, afternoon. View from Ediz Hook. (Click for larger image.)

And, out of chronology, what you can see when you can really see. Labor Day, a picnic way up on the hill in JL & JL's garden. Perfect weather. Port Angeles Harbor, Ediz Hook, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Victoria on Vancouver Island clearly visible (the next country north, across the Strait).

September 2, 2013, afternoon. View from (Click for larger image.)

This post is for VR, who insisted I must go out and take pictures of salt water.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Any Day With Pelicans in It

August 26th, 2013. Pelicans on the move, Rialto Beach. (Click for larger image.)

Except for necessary emails re medical and family business, twitter is the only place I can talk these days, and that not very much. But I'm still here. VR has assigned me to go get three photos of the ocean. Luckily she is Canadian, and they call all salt water 'ocean'. Watch for pix from Ediz Hook and Salt Creek. Don't expect words.

Silt On My Boots

Here is an aerial photograph of the Elwha River flowing into the Strait, on August 21. Thank you to photographer Tom Roorda and to Coastal Watershed Institute for continuing to capture and share this record of ongoing change...

Elwha River, August 21, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Found this draft post hanging around in blogger. Why not share? Was out there two days later with GF and SF. All the sandbars were covered with gulls.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Season of Sunrises

The sun rises every day of course. But in winter it rises behind the lot with the trees; and in summer it rises so early I am never out in the livingroom flinging the curtains open when the sky is full of color. Also there are foggy days and cloudy days and low-ceiling days any time of year. But spring and fall are best for a chance at morning color, with Mount Baker posing up against it.

Mount Baker, about 90 miles away, August 16, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"This Journey is a Gift from our Ancestors"

According to the photos in the camera, the following things happened since I last posted:

July 21, evening, SA arrived from Northeast Nowhere. She'd come to watch Canoe Journey land on the 23rd. We went straight from the airport out to Ediz Hook to watch the Sunday night flock of cruise ships pass. Setting the theme immediately: journeys, and water. Forgot to take pictures, but anyway you've already seen many pictures of cruise ships steaming past.

July 22 we did important local things like go to the Goodwill to get her some warmer clothes, go to the library and the post office, and eat at Toga's Soup House. All major adventures for someone from Northeast Nowhere. We went out to the tribal library to try to get a clue what time the canoes would leave Jamestown the next morning, what time the landing might begin, and spent a long time talking books and libraries with TH. I introduced SA to everyone as my first library boss, and the person who taught me what kind of librarian I wanted to be.

July 23rd, we had breakfast with JL at Smugglers' Landing, and then went down onto the beach to watch the canoes land. But word was that a canoe had overturned in heavy fog and 4-foot swells, and they had all returned to Jamestown. Arrival time entirely uncertain. So we went to the T-Pier to watch the logship Selinda begin loading, it had come in overnight. Back to the beach. It was a false rumor that the canoes had all turned back, only some had. The rest of the canoes began coming in. Five hours later it had gone on all afternoon and there were 30 of them. This will get its own blog post. (I hope. My impulse to communicate is still uncertain.)

Woman from Tulalip. Not all regalia is cedar capes and button blankets. July 23, 2013. On Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles. (Click for larger image.)

VB and ML had arrived in town also on the 23rd. They came down to watch the canoes, heard how uncertain we were about what would happen when; so went up into the Olympics to Hurricane Hill (wildflowers!); then when I called them to say the canoes were coming in, hustled back down the mountain to watch.

July 24th, the four of us went out to Rialto Beach, so they could see a wild beach on the Outer Coast.

July 28/29: Portland again. Thankyou AngelFlight.

Right along, and especially the past two weeks, I've been spending a lot of time at the tribal library, and dropping in at the college library a bit though I don't work in summer quarter. My library peeps are my support system.

Also I spend a lot of time telephoning Florida, or procrastinating telephoning Florida. Family's woes continue. My cell phone is always in my pocket, and I always know what time it is there.

Button blanket. July 23, 2013. On Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles. (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Frog in a Pond in a Desert

I was in New Mexico for a week, visiting friends. Spent time in familiar homes and on people's patios and in people's yards. Drove familiar streets, and ate in familiar restaurants. Was feted with a wonderful party. Sat watching prairie dogs pop out of holes in Amelia White Park up near Museum Hill, and watched pavilions go up for the International Folk Art Market, and fell in love with Santa Fe's South Capitol neighborhood, and almost understood the real charm of what has been perverted into rich people's Style.

But overall we were having trouble finding anyplace we could GO because there were fires everywhere and the national forests were all under restriction, and hikers and sitters-by-rivers alike were locked out of their refuges. So it was particularly absurd and pleasing for RF and me to find ourselves listening to a bullfrog on the far side of a natural pond in the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve, south of town on the I5 frontage road by La Cienega, surrounded by the droughty droughty landscape, the air filled with smoke. There was water, and plants, and waterbirds.

July 6, 2013. This is not the bullfrog. But we heard him. (Click for larger image.)

From New Mexico went on to Florida, for family stuff. Then home again. Time flies when you're not feeling communicative.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Walking To Victoria

According to the photos in the camera, the following things happened in the three weeks since I last posted.

On June 14, I attended a field day at the west side of the mouth of the Elwha, where various little fishes were seined up, identified, measured, scanned for tiny embedded wire tags that say which hatchery they were born in, and let go again. There were lots of scientists, interns, and locals participating. The Peninsula Daily News had a very nice story about the day.

Elwha estuary, June 14, 2013. Two of the three ponds they seined. (Click for larger image.)

June 16, a deer hung around the neighborhood, performing such deer-ish tricks as eating all my landlady's beautiful new deep orange pansies, and parading down the middle of 8th Street grazing the yellow paint of the center line.

June 22, I went to Tukwila to a support group meeting for people with my kind of cancer.

June 25, LR texted the tribe's Education Director from out by the mouth of the Elwha on the tribe's side; there was a super-low tide, and she said we had to come out immediately, it's amazing. So we tumbled into the car and went. We were playing hooky from work in the education building, but when it was time to head back lest we miss Elder's Lunch (lasagna!!), I announced "I'm walking to Victoria!" and headed north toward the soft silty edge of the mudflats. LR and TH followed me out to as far as we could get. It was amazing.

LR rushing to greet us. The new silty lands at the mouth of the Elwha, June 26, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

June 25, picked WC up at the ferry, and June 26 we drove down to Portland for the bimonthly CT scans. I'm still stable, still in the clinical trial, still a science project. We did it as a day trip, left at 4:50 AM and made it home in time to put him on the 9:30 PM ferry.

Yet another ferry view, June 26, and the pylons for the new MAX light rail line, Portland, June 27, 2013. (Click for larger image.)

June 28, the canoes were out of the storage shed and arrayed on the lawn between the Education Building and the Tribal Center. Canoe journey is less than a month away, there must be practicing and preparation and cold-water training and all for the pullers.

Three of Elwha's four canoes. June 28, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

I never got to the ocean at all.

On the whole, every picture in the camera is as flat as my spirits these days. This is a beachbunny blog, supposed to be a mostly effortless, nearly chirpy picture of places gone and things seen. I don't much want to change the ground rules I set for myself and start posting lugubrious paragraphs about my state of mind. I also don't want it to be drudgery to post. Yet I don't want to lose three weeks at a time out of the record I have kept of my life since I decided to move up here, even if all I really want to do is read, not write. It's a puzzle.

Meanwhile, here is a picture showing the Elwha River's east and west shores and the shifting channels, taken by Mike McHenry of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe on June 11, 2013.

Elwha River overflight, June 11, 2013. Thanks to Mike McHenry and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for this photo. (Click for larger image.)

Sorry. The image template changed, and I don't have time to deal with it. Am packing to leave for Santa Fe and then Florida at impossible AM. It will just have to be what it is until I get home.

This post is for KL and RC, who were worrying about my silence.