Monday, October 10, 2011

First Beach. La Push. Quileute Indian Reservation


And had forgotten just how much I love this part of the world, my part of the world, going on fifteen years since I’ve been to this northwest corner of the continental United States.. Not that I’ve minded cavorting on other parts of the planet, but this is one of my holy places, and it’s almost in my back yard. Well, a ferry ride and a three-hour drive away, but still. Through Douglas fir and spruce forest-farms and mist-shrouded valleys, in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains which never came into view Sunday for all the clouds, in a temperate rain forest where annually 300 inches of rain descend from the sky.  
Twenty minutes into walking on First Beach, there came into view
two seals, a sea lion, a pair of eagles and a fly-by of pelicans,
one after another and another.
And some sun, if only just barely.

The beached rippage of upended trees, the roots flounced up,
exposing a hollowed-out trunk big enough to set up camp in.

A gradation of flat stones, from palm-sized

to diminishing in size until they became sand.

Unassailable headlands.
I stood at the foot of cliffsides and ran my hands over
salty-wet moss and barnacles, leaned my shoulders
into the rock faces and then high-stepped away
from incoming waves, quickly quickly.
A roil of sea at my back.

So much the need to be here, to choose one flat black stone
and name it Absence of All Things Good.
To fling it hard and cutting into the surf.
To let it go.
To turn my back and walk away.


  1. What gorgeous photos -- I have never been to the Pacific Northwest but am dying to visit. Maybe one day --

  2. You just can't help yourself, can you T?
    Love it!

  3. I wonder if 'Dorothy' did surrender!

  4. As I lay in bed last night, waiting to fall asleep I thought to myself, grief is about not letting go. I did this myself five years ago, walked along a beach, found a stone and flung it hard into the water, wanting to to take all of my sadness and anger with it.

  5. a wonderful post, T.
    silent hands on the east coast applauding your affirmation of life.


  6. Elizabeth,

    It's a a short(ish) skip away from LA...

    You'd love it, especially the wild coastline!


  7. Jacqueline:

    No, I couldn't ;)


  8. Cro,

    I don't know about Dorothy, but I sure as hell didn't surrender. Just sayin'.


  9. Lilith, I agree, and yet the physical act of flinging that black stone, after giving name to it, was indeed freeing, a part of training the brain to practice new patterns. I think I need to fling a stone every day now. It seemed very symbolic and powerful, with the waves crashing so violently in front of me.

  10. susan,

    Your comment made my heart glad, made me happy for our connection.