(excerpt) As I was falling, I distinctly remember thinking about that big window. The thoughts glancing off my brain at breakneck speed were of my folded body pierced with glass bent into the most impossible shapes. I could smell waffle cones from the ice cream shop next door. It was so weird to me how certain I was that I would die that way. To be completely fair, I was also certain that waffle cones are the best final smell of your life, if you get to choose.
(excerpt) I keep expecting the big life affirming epiphany. I am still waiting for that experience of staring into the void, of hearing my own hospital room alarms go off only to see a cadre of night shift nurses hustle in and check me for signs of death to have a greater impact on my overall world view. It’s not happened yet.
(excerpt) I am the daughter of Danish Vikings and my people have roamed the sea from time immemorial and I am the tiniest blip on the timeline of these proud Nordic seafarers. I can’t help but feel connected to the ancient adventures of explorers in arctic waters searching for new lands. I have grand designs on the high seas, and very little skill but I know that it’ll come . . . eventually. Also, boats are cool.
(excerpt) Black and gray fur slowly encroached across the thoughtfully carved shapes. The walls began to soften and the structure became too fragile to support the art of the carving and the damp heaviness of the decomposition. As my pumpkin grew rank and misshapen, so too did my outlook. Halloween has come in waves.
(excerpt) What we believe to be true is very often our truth in the moment. What is real is real until it is not and then some other reality takes it place. It happens all the time in a million little ways. Have you ever watched a leaf until it turned out to be a bug and flew away?
(excerpt) I look at photographs of those bronzed explorers walking the beaches of last summer and find their faces full of hope and excitement and abject terror of the unknown. They are just a little wild eyed at the onslaught of big boats and old trains and endless days in motor cars. It looks to all the world like they have cast off the weight of the manor house and charged full on into the wild without tether or compass.
(excerpt) The distant past is like looking at a map of where I’ve been. Sitting in a chair and holding the map in my lap the distance seems so short. Not quite the breadth of the maroon and grey Griz afghan I crocheted expressly for sitting in this chair. But looking closer, at the legend of the map, I see the great secret. The map is to scale. One-inch equals five years, ten years, thirty years.
(excerpt) The edge of the earth is always moving, staying just out of reach, like a toddler challenging the tide to touch its toes but retreating quickly from the incoming waves. The horizon is an idea of what lies ahead and where we live is actually the in-between, in the journey to the destination that is always shifting with the time and tide.
(excerpt) The rain matches the sea and crests in waves against the windows blocking out the world and giving the illusion that I might be Captain Nemo gliding silently along alone in my version of the Nautilus deep beneath the surface of the ocean. When the storms pause, for there is more to come, and the wall of water tumbles to the ground revealing an endless horizon, I can’t help but think that this must be what Joshua felt like when the walls at Jericho fell.
(excerpt) I want my goal to be attainable. Isn’t setting realistic goals part of every self-help, recovery, positive action plan in every book you’ve ever bought when you were at the end of your rope and then later ignored because you were super proud of yourself for taking action by purchasing that book so much so that you forgot for a moment why you needed the book in the first place. We’ll never know for sure because none of us have ever actually read those books.
(excerpt) What I have not mentioned yet is that on New Year’s Day I was attacked and nearly beaten to death by the influenza virus. If a sneaker wave had grabbed me off the beach and tossed me savagely against the rocks I would have felt better than I did over the first week of this new year. So, at the time of testing and interview I was just starting to get the color back in my face. But I was a trooper. I felt confident and again, my hair was killing it.
(excerpt) This experience lands squarely between a salt water baptism and what it must be like to be one of those little gooey dinosaur toys that expand when you put them in water. There is an unspoken expectation of transformation that may or may not last until the next submergence. This is one of my favorite parts of our beach walks, I am communing with dinosaurs (I’ll save the giant beach bird dinosaur talk for another time as it is its own thing).
(excerpt) I could not breathe. There was no air in my space. Something had to give and that something needed to be big. The thing I needed was, as I said before, a life boat.
(excerpt) Oooooo, you showed your tentacles sea witch and I know who you are now. I mean come on, there it is again precipitation superiority. I’m starting to think that around any corner, Donald Sutherland might be there pointing a finger and shrieking, lumping me in with Kevin McCarthy as an impostor, an interloper.
(excerpt) “You can only watch the tide go out for so long before you are watching the tide come in.”
(excerpt) Seriously, I recently saw a baby octopus in a tidepool! You know I wonder if that octopus feels differently about himself in and then out of the tidepool. He certainly has different strengths and weaknesses in the tidepool and then in the open ocean. I wonder if his relationships to the other sea life are different inside and outside of the pool. The nature of the pool changes with each high a low tide and I wonder how easily he adapts to his new surroundings. Does he ever worry that he won’t be able to find his way back? In the tidepool he looked huge but in the open ocean did he even register or make any kind of mark? What does he risk when he leaves the tidepool, what does he risk is he stays? At some point, this all stopped being about the octopus.
(excerpt) I have a terrible fear each time I say goodbye directly to one of my boys’ faces that it is the last time. So far that has not been true, and for that I am very grateful. One day it will be, and I sincerely hope that there are many, many more opportunities to cry over departures before that day comes.
(excerpt) This evening felt right. However, even as we were eating, drinking, laughing and generally enjoying each other, I knew that this was temporary. Nothing in this space was permanent and none of it ours.
(excerpt) This woman is strong on so many levels. She also lives a most specific and no-bullshit life. Talking to her for five minutes it is easy to understand how well her directness and honesty serve her in her life everyday. She also has the biggest heart – I mean that she is kind and thoughtful not to imply that her heart is oversized in anyway, I am pretty sure it is not.
(excerpt) Friends, I am going to confess an ugly truth. I love Cody with everything I am and I never wish any harm or illness on him ever. I would take the palsy myself if I could, but if I am being totally honest, the eye patch is a little cool. Not like a pirate is cool but real swagger and power. With his beard graying at the edges and his patch he carries the visage of Odin, another Viking spirit in a land that is not made for him. However, there is a ruggedness, a survivalism inherent in the patch that is very similar to the adventuring spirit that is at the core of our quest right now.
(excerpt) All along the boardwalks and street corners there were musicians everywhere. Something I think you should know about me. If you are in need of two dollars grab an instrument and a coffee can and stand on a corner in front of me singing anything. The two dollars will most certainly be yours.
(excerpt) What we are finding as we travel and plan for our imminent move, is that we are building our own sanctuary. Our place among the waves and stars and sand that comforts and sustains us. This is what I’ll be thinking about as we cruise around a former island prison, freedom and safe harbor.
(excerpt) Even now as I sit here writing about a stupid ice cream pie the tears are coming faster than I’d like. I can’t say if it is road rash or just missing a home and the known. Either way every new beginning starts with at least a handful of goodbyes, I expect that this particular farewell just snuck up on me.
(excerpt) When we woke up this morning the air was heavy with coastal mist. The thickness of the fog coupled with the sounds of the sea ushered in thoughts of the primordial shore. I imagined a warm swamp like sea beyond the mist teaming with life waiting to be hatched upon the land. Then we went downstairs for waffles.
(excerpt) I couldn’t breathe right away. I teared up and was embarrassed. There I was a grown ass woman crying at the fact that I could see water through a window.
(excerpt) All of the oddities outweighed the opportunity to watch whales swim by without having to put on pants (me put on pants, not the whales.)
(excerpt) I teetered out of bed and located the alka seltzer, preferred heartburn relief of old men everywhere. I wrapped myself in a blanket sat in front of the open balcony glass door and stared out into the blackness of the water and deep into the night. The sound of the breaking waves daring me to move too much or too fast. My equilibrium was shot. While I sat their praying for a sneaker wave to jump the four floors up to our room with enough strength to pull me out to sea, I noticed a dim bobbing light on the horizon.
(excerpt) When we started out in Missoula (elevation 3,209 ft) the road ahead seemed clear. We were following a treasure map to our own future. There, on the beach in Seaside (at sea level) the view was much less obvious. Those trade winds have shifted and we know a few things in a different way now.
(excerpt) What is here for us? Does this place have any magic that we can’t resist? I don’t know. I can say that we had a remarkable dinner at an Italian wood fire oven pizza place where we were served a pizza with French blue cheese, by a Spanish waiter, while I drank and Argentinian wine and that waiter did not stare at my jacked-up eye, not even once. That is a pretty good start.
(excerpt) “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." "I don't much care where –" "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
(excerpt) Tomorrow we are in the wind again. We are older, hopefully wiser, and we take with us every moment, every perfect moment that has shaped our rings and fed our roots. All of our very best memories, of our saddest days, of our closest relationships and of our greatest achievements they all begin the same way “Remember the time . . .”
(excerpt) Steve and Mortimer are as of this writing tucked safely away in the kitty hotel for the next month. Their acclimation is anyone’s guess. We hope that it is smooth. Our acclimation however, to a house without cats, is so very much harder than we thought it would be. Cody and I don’t know yet where we belong. As we launch into our journey of discovery, both of place and self, if we were uncertain before we know with a visceral surety now that our space, our life, the world that we build is off balance and empty without these furry reminders of how we feel when we are whole.
(excerpt) In the spirit of John Jacob Astor and the intrepid settlers, trappers and miners of the late 18th and early 19th century we are forging west (more west - we are already in Montana). We are drawn to the sea. As we load our wagon, actually a Toyota Corolla, and begin to navigate our way through the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia River Valley and on towards the edge of the continent we are looking for the place that is our home.