Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting For A Ghost

It was one year ago this weekend I first stumbled (literally) upon the Emily G. Reed shipwreck.  December 5, 2010, is a day etched in my mind as you can see from my journal entry from that fateful day...

Today is an unseasonably warm December day on the Oregon Coast. As I stroll along the beach, I am nearly alone. The few people I do pass have their coats tied around their waists as I do. The sun shines on my face as I think about how many times I have walked across this sand in the past fifty years. It is a familiar, safe and comfortable hike. That was about to change.

Shielding my eyes from the glare of the sun on the wet sand, I see something ahead in my path. Huge square beams are exposed in the sand like the ribs of a skeleton. What in the world could this be? I blink my eyes a few times and continue squinting in the same direction. It appears each timber is nearly 12 feet long and a foot in diameter and they continue 80 feet down the beach.

My mind searches madly for an explanation. I listen as it goes through its checklist trying to make sense of the information coming through my eyes.

These weren’t here yesterday. Check.

Yet, they are buried in the sand so they must have been here for a while. Check.

No one else seems concerned. Check.

The wood looks as if it has been hand hewn. Check.

The huge bolts holding them together are bright orange with rust. Check.

My mind--which is very fertile ground under the most boring of circumstances-- has unleashed itself and is galloping towards some wild assumptions. Its wildest theory is that I have discovered a shipwreck. Not just any old ship, but a pirate ship cast ashore during a fierce storm carrying treasures from the Far East. I glance around for gold doubloons or jewels to confirm my zealous assertions. But find only sand and black pebbles. My mind stays vigilant for Blackbeard, Captain Kidd or Black Bart the Pirate.

Desperate to maintain reality, I explore every inch of this wooden relic. Later, an older couple wanders down the beach and stops briefly. Almost as an aside they say, “Oh, this must be the remains of the “Emily G. Reed.” She was shipwrecked here on Valentine’s Day in 1908. Every 35 years or so, when the winter storms wear down the sandy beach, you can catch a glimpse.” Seemingly unimpressed, they move along down the beach.

I, on the other hand, I am jumping around like a two-year old with a new toy. It IS a shipwreck! What incredible tales of far away adventures lie within? What happened on that fateful day?

Full of excitement at this discovery, I cannot believe during my years in this sleepy coastal town, no one has ever mentioned it. Yet, here I stand here next to her hull, just the two of us on this bright winter’s day.
Now as the winter storms slam down upon the beach, I eagerly check to see if she will show herself to me once more.  I can only hope and wait.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hello Nancy, Rockaway Police Calling

"Oh great, another night in the pokey," was my first thought.  Then the nice officer explained this time it was just a courtesy call.

Today's perpetrator was our fence.  You know, the one  the locals said would blow down. It blew down.  A section of the fence couldn't withstand the storm's 100mph gusts this week and the posts snapped off at the concrete footings. Whole panels were tossed about the yard, in an amazing display of wind power. 

I would like to say that no one was hurt, but that's another story.  As you may have read, I have been having a very difficult time getting artichokes to grow here.  Everyone says, they grow like weeds, but not for me.  After two long growing seasons and five tries, I gave up.  Hearing my defeat, one of the artichokes sprung forth new shoots and has been growing like crazy just to mock me.  I didn't care, at least I had an artichoke in the garden.

Then during the "onshore breeze" which took out the fence, the orange Adirondack chair was apparently picked up, went sailing 40 feet across the yard and landed right on top the artichoke plant.  Nothing else in the garden was touched.  Just that single artichoke was flattened by the landing--it hurt me more than you can imagine.

Both of our egos bruised, Carpenter Bob has since cleaned up the mess and declared a war on the elements with a shake of his fist. He has refused to let me publish photos and sits by the fire plotting his next move.

Do we remind you of people who buy another trailer in a tornado zone with their insurance money from the first one?  I was afraid of that.

Friday, November 25, 2011

When Trees Get Revenge

This tall tree in the Oregon Coast Range "took one for the team" and stopped a log truck.  Well done!

Photo Source: The Oregonian

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am Thankful...

(a partial list in very random order)

for pot roast and yorkshire pudding
I am not afraid of spiders
for finding my voice
I know how to swim
for my family and all of the children who are so grown up
that one out of the five artichokes I planted survived in spite of me
I am healthy
for being a little crazy
for the sound and the scent of the ocean
I am a girl and can dress in fancy clothes
for work that makes this world a better place
I married a man who loves to dance
I am warm and dry at night
for my little sister who thinks I made a difference in her life
I am frugal but not cheap
I can't remember the last time I was bored
for the feeling of sunshine on my face
Johnny Depp keeps making movies
for good friends who don’t judge me
I don't have to commute to work
that every year I get a little wiser
for nature in all her splendor
I can laugh at myself
for old movies, good books and decadent desserts
my hair likes the rain
I am still learning
for our homegrown tomatoes which last until Thanksgiving
I am so loved!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stained Glass Tree

I stood under the canopy of this old neighborhood tree and looked up through the stained glass mosaic of it's vibrant burgundy leaves.  It was an honor to do so.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Heart of Fall

The late afternoon sunlight transformed these delicate  
Chinese Lanterns and they started to glow from within. 

Struck by their similarity to the human body, 
I sat quietly and watched for a heartbeat.   

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Moon Shadows

Startled from a deep sleep last night, I looked around to see what had awoken me.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except the power was off due to an earlier storm and at the Oregon Coast, power outages are not exactly out of the ordinary.  Surprised by the amount of light coming through the window though, I got up and looked out.  There were no lights on as far as the eye could see.  When I looked up, I saw the skies had cleared-- except for a few soft white clouds, several stars were shining and the big full moon was directly overhead.  There was no ambient light coming from town and the moon was the sole source of illumination.  Wandering about the house, I peered out each window looking in all directions.  There didn’t seem to be any other humans or animals stirring.  

The light from the moon was so bright it made intricate shadows on the ground crisply outlining the trees and plants.  The same moon that I had written about in my evening blog was indeed putting on a show on this rare night.  Perhaps I had mocked Mother Nature and was now invited to get a firsthand look at her 11-11-11 ritual. 

Then I noticed a tree in the backyard was ablaze with light. The birch tree, which had lost all its leaves, is now adorned with huge puffs of lichen.  Tonight, each puff of lichen appeared to be glowing from within with a hot, white light.   When the moon temporarily went behind a cloud, the tree returned to normal and then as soon as the cloud passed, the tree lit up again with hundreds of bright lights.   I gazed at the spectacle for a very long time ruminating on all sorts of possible explanations, while not ruling out magic.  My eyes finally became too droopy and it was time to return to sleep.  

When I got up this morning, the power was on, the coffee was brewing, the sky was obscured by clouds and rain and the town folk were busily going about their daily errands.  The world I had witnessed a few hours earlier had vanished.  It is, however, a night I will never forget.

Friday, November 11, 2011


What's the significance of this date?  Is it simple good luck or something more?

Today some believers decided to get married, others delivered babies, some sat in silence welcoming the beginning of a great transformation for the human race.  Concerned Egyptians even closed the Great Pyramids today to keep people from performing rituals.

To add to the intrigue, it is also a full moon.  I captured this moonrise coming over the coast range. Perhaps Mother Nature is performing a ritual of her own in celebration of the mysterious 11-11-11.


For those of you who enjoyed playing Whack-A-Mole as children, Gardener Bob would like to extend and invitation to visit us any time and bring a sledge hammer.   Our garden has dozens of these mole "mountains" and more pop up each evening.  They must be pretty big moles because they are pretty big piles of dirt.  He keeps wandering around, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath at them.  He just can't understand why the nearby vacant fields have NONE--not one--and we have scores.  So stop by anytime and take out a little aggression. Please!

Note: For those of you who were sheltered as children, you missed out.  Here is a little background information

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

photo of daisies by Nancy Zavada
 "The Earth laughs in flowers" - Emerson

photo of smiling face in Rockaway Beach Oregon
It apparently also chuckles in sand and sea foam! 
We found this happy face while beach combing one afternoon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Left My Heart in Rockaway

photo of Rockaway Beach Oregon at sunset

Perhaps I spent a little too long in San Francisco this week, because this sunset photo makes Rockaway Beach resemble that beautiful city (without the little cable cars, of course).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ours Is Not To Reason Why

photo of a wave at Rockaway Beach Oregon

How can the immense power and energy of waves 
be so calming to the human spirit?