I will give them poppies, yes …


These are my purple poppies. They are a bit unusual I have been told, but I’m not sure. I often pass along the seeds to my gardening friends who request them.  I can’t remember (once again) where I acquired them – from my Mom probably many years ago. These flowers are prolific and work fervently each Spring to take over my garden but I do like my vegetables so I have to confine them to one or two spots. Stay! I say; but they never do. My Mother in Law sprinkled them in her dog kennel last summer and they grew up huge. So, there you go: Dog poop is the magical fertilizer for poopies, oops, I meant poppies. I have read they are not particularly fond of acid soil, but poppies don’t mind drought and if you like the color purple, then all is well.

Purple Sanctum

Forest Robin Rock

He is certainly surveying his domain! What a place to call home. We have to be extra careful driving to the beach because of these robins. They have a tendency to fly directly in front of the car. Their spacial orientation is totally different I think because of the dense forest. And, at night the frogs are often hopping in the road especially when it rains just a wee bit. So, I get out and encourage the frogs along to the side of the road (much like trying to herd cats) and then drive around them. This year Matthew and I left Ian sleeping and walked to the beach from the campground after having our Latte on the propane cook stove. (Anyone know where you can get a small hand coffee grinder?) You never really see a place unless you walk it, I believe. Our stroll became like a morning meditation with the trees and the larks as our companions and the distant roar of the surf growing louder around each bend.

A power beyond

Sea stacks 2nd beach

Paul Lutus, a seasoned sailor, with many years of solo sailing experience, once said that after years of living on the ocean he no longer fears death. Where his fear lies is in the notion of injustice – the loss of opportunities – of being cheated out of life by some stupidity, as by someone who couldn’t point their car in the right direction, for instance. After spending years on the sea he realized that he belonged to it, and barring an error of his own doing, when his time came he was at peace with the fact that the sea might sometime take him. Naturally, as with all of us, he really doesn’t get to choose. But I admire this sailor’s state of mind and spirit. I think it is his interpretation of a view I share myself.

I, nor anyone else, is the pinnacle of creation. We don’t own anything. We don’t own time, nor space, nor even the land our houses sit upon – anywhere. We cannot see our own futures and the only thing we do possess is fleeting – this moment of this life, and perhaps the next moment. Some of us have faith in God and the continuity of some form of existence beyond death. Some people don’t share in that belief. Some get by without it. My faith is a part of who I am, but I also realize it will not provide me with a magical formula nor superior knowledge. I assume that is why it’s called faith.

When I was in my early twenties, not so very long ago, I spent several days with friends from Scotland touring around Glacier National Park. One afternoon, while they were madly snapping photos, I hiked out to a lonely spot on a high precipice overlooking St. Mary’s Lake on Glacier’s east side. It was not a long way from the road, but as I stood there in the icy wind looking down over the frigid, turquoise blue lake with the wild slopes of dense forest looming on the furthest shore I was hit suddenly with acute awareness that I was probably the most insignificant dot on that landscape. It was one of those “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” sensations, but enhanced by the cold wind, the even colder lake, and the vastness of wilderness beyond my eyesight. Ah, besides the fact that indeed, Grizzly bears do roam this area.

Since that acute experience I try to remain open to such insights. They are not something I consciously pursue, truthfully. They are disconcerting in the least and I prefer to dwell in a rather comfortable, psychological spot where I am significant. And, in my daily life, most of the time I do have an important place as mother, friend, wife, daughter, etc. Simply told there are moments, being near the ocean especially amplifies my perception, when I am able to barely grasp a fraction of God’s power which speaks beyond anything to do with me. I am a part of this creation, yes, but I cannot ignore the wild vastness of the ocean, nor of life itself. This hint of understanding could be overwhelming, yet I am penetrated instead by the beauty of it all and remain standing on the beach being thrilled by each crashing wave. There is something transforming about such experiences. They no longer frighten me, and like the lone sailor, I feel as though I am at peace with this power beyond.

wave Ian

Wave photo by Ian.

Small stone spaces

Stone stacks

We were on this beach for a long while and alone for most of the time. We refer to it as “Seal Beach” because we often are greeted by Harbor Seals peeking up over the waves as the tide comes in the evening. It’s good fishing there, I presume, but I wonder if they are not simply curious about us bipeds walking haltingly along the sandy shore. This stack of stones withstood tumultuous wave action until it finally fell and was scattered by the rushing waters. As you can see I like to choose stones which make the balancing act challenging. And I never leave them in places where they will stand for long. I have been practicing for years and I notice now – more and more stacks appearing here and there each summer season.


Walking among the giants


These giant rocks and outcroppings formed a natural maze which took some time to wind one’s way through on the sand. It was intriguing and wonderful to anticipate what was around each huge stone. Was it sea or a tide pool, or some small marvelous shell? The maze went on and on. We were of course always mindful of the incoming tide.


Brown’s Point

We are home safely and catching up on some impressive piles of laundry and much needed sleep. This is Brown’s Point just the day before with heavy weather coming into shore. The skies were menacing but far out on the ocean it was bright sunshine as I could see (with the binoculars) the water glistening, sparkling with light. Small fishing vessels bobbed around on a calm ocean but the coast line was getting some stormy, brisk winds. It was by far the coldest day of our vacation but still warm enough on the sand to take a nap in a wool sweater. We all collapsed on the beach near a small waterfall and promptly fell asleep. By this day we had each hiked about 32 miles total and I was actually beginning to get a blister or two. Our rations on these adventures was a Zone bar, an apple, and a peanut butter sandwich which seemed like a feast with such royal waves and stately sea rocks on our doorstep. Ian climbed the tall, craggy rocks at low tide and I investigated the tide pools. Matthew stared at the sea and took photos. We were not saying much as we spent time in this place; we were simply taking it all in…

Brown’s Point

The seven virtues

A few days ago, I sat in the rare coastal sunshine with a bottle of sun block watching the waves. Within the span of less than an hour I found some very unusual pebbles on the shore where I was perched.  These are keepers and I refer to them as the 7 virtues:  love, beauty,  truth, art,  justice, vision, and courage.  All other goodness flows from these.  For me, there will always be tokens of the spirit, placed there by the wind, water or sea to ever remind me of my anchor.  Our paths might become a labyrinth of wandering without such natural prompts. Delicate as secret jewels in the sand, or powerful as the crashing ocean on the shore, spirit markers are all around us if we would only slow down.  I had to sift through the sand to find these.  They are sometimes hidden like treasure but present and available for us in the every day. They appear like, as songster Bruce Cockburn once wrote:  Rumors of glory.

the seven virtues

Sacred shores

Better late than never.  We camped in the Park all week with no access to wireless or cell phone. I’ll be back home with more photos in a few days but here is something to share of our week at the ocean. As we drive through town tonight I will post another, if I get a chance.  Wow.  In this shot, Matthew spent the evening on Rialto photographing while Ian and I chased the waves. We were the last to leave the beach.

Sacred shores