Pacific coast

Pacific coast

“Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains,
the huge waves of the sea,
the broad flow of the rivers,
the vast compass of the ocean,
the courses of the stars,
and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
— Saint Augustine

What are we passing by?

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North Head Lighthouse at sunset, Cape Disappointment State Park

North Head Lighthouse at sunset, Cape Disappointment State Park

“Far away in the west the sun was setting and the last glow of all too fleeting day lingered lovingly on sea and strand . . .”
— James Joyce, Ulysses

We had a short, but truly wonderful, weekend getaway to the Pacific Coast.  Our friends invited us to share their camping spot at Cape Disappointment State Park, so we enjoyed prime oceanside “lodging” for the price of an extra car at the campgrounds.  What a bargain — good company, fresh sea air, spectacular surroundings, good food, sunshine, and an amazing sunset.

Multicolored sky nearing sunset

Multicolored sky nearing sunset

“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going.  And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.”
— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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Several years ago a stranger who was standing next to us while we were watching the sunset said, “Don’t leave the moment the sun sinks behind the horizon.  Most people leave too soon.  The best skies come in the five or ten minutes after the sun has set.”  Good advice.  Always linger.

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment State Park

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment State Park

 

Enhanced photo

Enhanced photo

“There is no way in which a man can earn a star or deserve a sunset.”
— G. K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

What the Soul Needs

November 10, 2014

“It’s important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don’t necessarily nurture soul.  The soul has different concerns of equal value:  downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people; and any animal’s rhythm of rest and activity.”
— Thomas Moore, from Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing by Susan Wooldridge

Solitude on the ocean's edge

Solitude on the ocean’s edge

These early-dark days are about as perfect for soul work as any.  A time to remember that suffering, depression, stresses, chronic challenges, all are food for inner growth — as difficult as it is to struggle through them.  In fact, it sounds like the perfect time of year for a retreat, of even a few days.  We must all remember to take care of ourselves.

 

 

 

The Western Sky at Sunset

February 1, 2014

Sunset over the Pacific at Santa Cruz

Sunset over the Pacific at Santa Cruz

“The man is blessed who every day is permitted to behold anything so pure and serene as the western sky at sunset, while revolutions vex the world.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, from The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. 8, December 27, 1851

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The tip of the sun really did look like a little square on the horizon.

The tip of the sun really did look like a little square on the horizon.

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“There was no end to the joyful exaltation on this edge of oscillations.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

The Pacific Ocean at Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park

The Pacific Ocean at Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park

The last half of our Olympic National Park road trip took us to several Pacific coast beaches.  We stopped at Mora Campground on the way to Rialto Beach to pitch our tent, as we planned to have a picnic supper at the beach and stay until sunset.  We didn’t want to have to set up our tent in the dark.

Our campsite at Mora Campground

Our campsite at Mora Campground

The beach was two miles from the campground.  We passed the Quillayute River as we neared the end of the road.  Straight ahead was the endless ocean, the mighty Pacific.

Quillayute River

Quillayute River

Sea stacks at Rialto Beach

Sea stacks at Rialto Beach

Fourteen shades of gray

Fourteen shades of gray

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”
— Henry Beston

This was my first time at Rialto Beach.  It’s a wild coast, with waves crashing and casting up sea foam onto the pebbly beach.  Sea stacks added interest to the horizon line.  Weathered driftwood lined the upper beach.  The water was cold, but irresistible to children (and adults).

Rialto beach

Rialto beach

The wild shores at Rialto Beach

The wild shores at Rialto Beach

Our beach chairs

Our beach chairs

Driftwood

Driftwood

The sky

The sky

Waiting for sunset

Waiting for sunset

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”
— Victor Hugo