Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scenic Byways - or Rat Mazes...It's All Good

The sun FINALLY decided to make an appearance last Monday, so we headed to the coast.  Whenever King Rat and I have celebrations, big decisions to make, or the need to connect with our creator, we head to the beach.

There is something about the reassuring continuity of the ebb and flow of the tides along with the vastness of it all.  It reminds us that life has its ups and downs, there are cycles to everything, and in the grand scheme of things, we - and our worries - are infinitesimal.  Beyond that,
it is just damn beautiful!  The sun was warm, the wind was only breezy, and the temperature was just right to shed the coats.

Unfortunately we arrived at high tide, so walking was a bit unnerving as the surf was very agitated and the waves were unpredictable.  This is the perfect recipe for sneaker waves.  The Oregon Coast has many logs along the shore and beachgoers are reminded by signs not to play on the logs or turn their backs to the surf in order to be safe from sneaker waves. We always thought they were like high waves, but they are more like a wall of water that comes in without warning.  Here is a link to a video of a smaller one.

The problem with these waves is that they often occur in winter and warmly dressed beachcombers can be knocked down and then can't get up and are washed out to sea.  This just happened to a family around Christmas.  They were walking along when a sneaker wave took the husband and son.  The wife was an arms length away and there was nothing she could do.  Her family was gone.  They have not been found.  I say a prayer for her every time I think of her.


We walked quite a while and ended up next to a seawall. The surf just kept getting closer, so we left the shore through a hotel access point that lead to a pretty wooded trail and found ourselves in a neighborhood. Our maze had rewarded us with a something much better, than cheese.  As luck would have it, we were right in back of the Connie Hansen Garden. This is a Conservatory garden in a residential neighborhood maintained by volunteers.  We wandered the paths, admiring the azaleas and rhododendrons that were beginning to bloom, when we noticed a deer.  We thought it was a statue at first, but then it blinked.  And it had a friend.  And another.  And another.  We felt like we were intruding on their nap time, so we tip-toed back out and continued our meandering walk.

After a healthy lunch of a brownie and an apple fritter at Safeway, we walked back to the ocean as the tide was going back out and enjoyed our walk back to the car.

Just plain old wandering has lead to some very beautiful moments.  Yesterday, after being cooped uphill day thanks to the pouring rain, we had to get outside.  Instead of taking our usual route, we turned the opposite way and discovered a new wooded trail in our neighborhood.  It had been built two years ago!  The maze of loops and spurs led to a raging creek that was mesmerizing.  The fern-carpeted forest and the rushing water were the perfect complements to create our forest cathedral.  How nice to have a natural church in our neighborhood.  We look forward to watching it change throughout the seasons.

Now we know why rats solve mazes and all who wander are not lost.

Get outside.  It's amazing out there.

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