Tag Archives: vacation

Under the Oregon Stars, a State of Being

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek courtesy NASA

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek courtesy NASA

In fragile folding chairs we sit watching the fire, listening to the music of the surf. We form a circle of people bound by blood somewhat, but in reality bound by that strongest of cements—love. Some are children of my body, given to me as gifts from the universe. Others are the children of my heart, given to me when I married their father.

All are my children—mine, do you hear me? Each one is my precious, my dearest earthly treasure, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love them with all the meddling, coddling love a Cancerian brings to motherhood.

I think about how it hurt to see these people grow to adulthood and leave the nest, but over and above the sense of loss at their fledging I was proud that I was a part of their lives.  They are who they are, separate from me, better, and unique.

As it should be.

We are blessed to have a family where love is thicker than blood, and if you cut one of us, we all bleed red. It is the friendship, the camaraderie, the need to be with each other that forges this blended family.

Our genetics may differ but we are the unit of us—a family united widely by marriage, closely by adoption, yes, some by birth. We are a melange of “inlaws and outlaws,” and that is okay. New spouses enter the group under duress and with trepidation, but soon  find themselves at ease, and we all make new memories.

There are many passports into this family, and blood is only a small part of it. Sometimes we go a while apart but memories of lazy summer vacations and stressed-out Christmases, and the challenge of making Thanksgiving menus work for everyone (even the vegan) draw us back together. Dietary dramas fade when unconditional love is applied to the injury.

That connection, these traditions, this path that leads us to each other is the core of a state of being that is hard to define, a concept we call family.

We are not all around this fire tonight. In low voices we talk about how we miss those who couldn’t make the journey this year. We laugh about their youthful antics and how we miss them. We understand well how being an adult means you can’t get time off when you want it, even for a traditional week of family rest and renewal.

Beneath the Oregon stars, my grandchildren run wild and the dunes echo with their laughter. Tonight I am contented, blessed in a way everyone should be.

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Filed under Humor, Publishing, writer, writing

Stormy Weather

Amaranthus and Savvy at the needles by haystack rock cannon beach Haystack Rock Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2012

Amaranthus and Savvy at the needles by haystack rock cannon beach Haystack Rock Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2012

We are on holiday in Oregon, at a little town called Cannon Beach. This is a wonderful place, famous for the rock formations and caves, and the scenery was featured in the film, The Goonies.

Even in August, the northeastern Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Coast is cold and frequently cloudy and rainy. But when the sun shines, it is amazing.

Watching the storms roll in from the safety of the porch of the condo is nothing less than awesome. The beach is uncrowded, and Amaranthus and Savvy can play to their heart’s content, running wild the way cousins have always done since time began.

Amaranthus digs bunkers, and wades waist deep in Ecola Creek where it runs into the ocean. He rides his skim-board along the edge of the ocean like a pro, using his skate-boarding skills to the max. When he steps onto the porch, he is chilled to the bone, and his 6 foot tall, 14 year-old frame is shivering. His lips are blue from the cold, and he doesn’t even have to be told to take a shower–he’s a man now. He knows what to do.

Leah and Christy Cannon Beach 2012 © cjjasp 2012

Leah and Christy Cannon Beach 2012 © cjjasp 2012

Savvy is bright-eyed and deeply interested in creating marvelous sculptures of sand, just like her mother, my daughter Christy and her Aunty Leah. All our children were keen sandcastle engineers! The girl also rides her skim-board and stays out until she is blue from the cold.

It’s a family tradition.

Savannah is 11 and she’s a girl, so she also doesn’t have to be told to warm up. She wants only to sit in the Jacuzzi when she finally has to abandon her sand castles.

Sandcastle Sam 2010

Sandcastle Sam 2010

Nephew Samuel is 16, and is fixated on riding his bike the length of the beach, from Rockaway Point to Ecola Creek as many times as he can fit into the vacation. He is also a sand castle excavator, bringing spades, a pick-axe and many other large implements for proper excavation. No matter how cold, blue and near death from hypothermia Sam is, he won’t take any advice on how to get warmed up, preferring to sit in a corner looking like death-warmed-over. Did I mention Sam is 16?

Rockaway Beach © cjjasp 2013

Rockaway Beach © cjjasp 2013

This year I’m here resting up, recovering from my surgery, and writing intense scenes for the revised version of Julian Lackland’s story. This is the perfect environment for me, and with everyone else checking out the caves on Rockaway Beach and trudging down to Haystack Rock, I have the perfect combination of peace, quiet and beautiful scenery to motivate me. Throughout the rest of the year I live for this week of writer’s paradise.

Local legend says Ursula K. Le Guin spends time writing here in Cannon Beach, which seems right since she lives in Portland, 1 hour and 45 minutes away. I know that this place inspires me more than any other place we go.

The Needles at Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2013

The Needles at Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2013

The weather is frequently awful, but we know it, and we plan for it. But there will be two days of glorious skies of a blue impossible to adequately describe.

The moods of the Pacific Ocean are anything but peaceful. It is a wild, beautiful thing, that is never the same two days running.  The waves crashing against the sea stacks and  the cries of the sea birds combine with the wind to clear my mind, and at last I am free to just write.

Haystack_rock_monochrome

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Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Literature, Uncategorized, Vegan, writer, writing