Tag Archives: journal writing

Travel journal: Port Angeles, WA, US

Beach fog with kayak enhanced

Beach fog with kayak text enhanced

Prismacolor pencils

I want to thank my followers for staying with me while I took a long break from blogging. I fell off a ladder & roof shoveling snow last January and injured my back so that movement was painful for several months. Then in July I had my appendix removed, followed by a month of abdominal infection and drains. Didn’t feel much like blogging and was mostly not very conscious for a couple months. As soon as I could walk around a block and didn’t have to use a stool in the shower I ran away – road trip to Port Angeles, WA, where I lived for a long time. I’m pretty well healed now so I hope to get back on schedule with writing and art for the blog and reading all your new posts. I really missed my blogging community.

A beach belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest.

sea weed or beach
I had claimed the cries of sea birds, the flashes of silver sided salmon leaping in the surf, and the tremble of waves as tall as trees crashing powerfully on the beach. I had claimed the place hard.

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, and loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.” – Joan Didion

The beach belongs to me, or more accurately, I belong to it. I lived for only a few fast years at this place, but it claims me forever. My attachment is so strong that I mourned months after the loss of that home when it was sold and I had to move. I had claimed the cries of sea birds, the flashes of silver sided salmon leaping in the surf, and the tremble of waves as tall as trees crashing powerfully on the beach. I had claimed the place hard. Now years since walking that beach, smelling the kelp decay, and listening to the tide fall back into the strait sounding like bacon sizzling in the pan, I know that place is inside me making me who I am, pulling me back there, and increasing my senses as I walk here in the dry Rocky Mountains.

I’ll share the first pages from a journal I carried when I lived on The Place Road at the mouth of the Elwha River on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Through my journals, I feel the sense of place again. These entries were made in the first year I lived at the seashore.

April 18, 1987

On the horizon float puffs of light colored as if by an unseen artist, pink and yellow-orange. Dark grey fog sits heavily around them and over them. The surface of the strait glows pinkish-yellow in some spots. The sky is overcast. Today Vancouver Island has seldom been visible.

April 28, 1987

Tonight I found fresh kelp washed up on the beach. Spring brings the sea vegetation back in abundance. All winter there has been only dead or old kelp.

Sunday I watched seals playing in three different places. Then three sea lions swam by. They are huge, very huge. They swim like porpoises.

Thursday I left very early for a meeting in Seattle. Four submarines floated in the strait. Whenever I see subs, it is always in the morning. There was news that a Russian sub was in the strait recently.

Last week a 256 pound halibut was caught in this bay. I have counted as many as 65 fishing boats at the mouth of the river. I am reading The Old Man in the Sea. Hemmingway is explicit about life in the sea.

Ricky and I water-skied at Lake Crescent Sunday with Dwyane. We showed up in swim suits and were put into sweats and “dry suits”. I could not keep hold of the rope behind the inboard motor. Dwayne said next time he’ll go easier. Ricky got right up while Dwyane held the rope to take up the slack. He gave Ricky excellent coaching!

May 6, 1987

I think this is an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Enormous ants are crawling into the house along the floor!

Wildlife comes down

Aug. 8, 2012 – Coyotes chattering over the ridge while I picked more lavendar this moring with Ozette. Watched a beautiful but injured bear on my way to the ladies’ pool party at the hot springs near home today. Met a member of Sisters on the Fly, swimming, and looks like I am in the market for a vintage camper, ready to join this adventurous group. Watched maybe a golden eagle in the neighbor’s field before dinner. I like it here, even if it is hot. It’ natural.

Aug. 9, 2012 – Trying to find out if my neighbor’s German Shepherd came home after they were playing in the swimming hole above Glendale bridges yesterday. Kenny was waiting on the side of the road in his PU truck for the dog to “catch up”, soaking wet child in back. I saw the bear with broken leg a few hundred yards from the swimming hole minutes later. Kenny’s place is closest to the hole. Brian saw a cougar passing near our deck at 4 AM today ,after Ozette came back from hte field, and a coyote loping by, under our big pine tree in back of the house. Kitten, Boudicca, really wants outside! Ha! silly girl. Just a light wildfire smoke & hot temps. to aggrivate wasps. Thinking about camping towards Black Lake in the Devils. — in Fruitvale, ID.
Later Aug. 9, 2012 – Dog came home, but was gone a long time. Owner lets him run free a lot. Zip is a 2 1/2 year old German Shepherd. I’m protective of mine, cautious, more watchful for her and what she might chase. Ground squirrels, though, have no limits but so far she just digs. Last year’s badger routed them all out, as well as lizards and snakes. We don’t see as many hawks this year with less prey.

This evening Ozette spooked a doe when we walked to the mailbox. She came when I called her,and later she obeyed when I said “leave it”. Then the deer, which had stopped in the field to watch us, started walking toward us. See? All good things to those who wait. Another neighbor said he saw two very small cubs and a mottled colored sow last night at about 8:30 in the same place I saw the all-black bear. Guess I will avoid the swimming hole at the bridges for a while. But what a great sight! The 2 point white tail sauntered through our back yard while I walked out to the lavender nursery to drop a peach pit. I realized when I was in the middle of the yard that I should have looked before I went out at nearly dark.  I did look under the house before I saw the deer. I hate to have to leave soon to go back to work. But I feel blessed to get to be here and have swell experiences. The other place is remarkable, too!