If any of you have attended a school reunion of any type, you will know what I speak of when I say I time traveled this week. It feels like a bunch of people milling around often staring at one another, sifting through countless neuronal synapses until something sparks an “I know I know you but I don’t know how!”
I went assuming I had more trees as friends than humans from my college days since I transferred there in the middle of my sophomore year, never had a car, lived off campus much of the time, and walked at least 6 miles daily to and from the gorgeous campus in love with the surroundings. I was pleasantly surprised how many people did recognize me and I them. . . though many of us could not remember what class, what project, what campus job, what outdoor adventure we shared.
Several I met went on to hold polished positions in prestigious places and seem happily married (more happy couples met in school than I knew), while others of us were reassuringly muddling through life as I am. All in all I came away with an impression of a positive attitude toward life and a generous spirit even if not monetary wealth, considering my graduating year was the only out of many to meet a participation goal for alumni fundraising. (Number of folks contributing to the school, not amount per person).
My favorite time was hearing about changes in the College Outdoors program which went from an office consisting of bathroom stalls holding 10 mismatched skis and a rubber raft the year before I arrived to a real office and mini-REI in a gym of a convent (apparently nuns work out too) now among the school’s property. It was great to hear a biology lecture and have a guided walk near the Oregon Forestry Center with an amazingly talented naturalist teacher and recent grad, Julia Huggins, who is helping to develop the environmental education students get along with the great outdoors adventures the program provides. Made me want to teleport myself into a different life with a second chance at college, with the benefit of life experience and clarity about a career in ecology/ecopsychology. Finally a living working outdoors with people and nature!
A Day Without Worry
Here in pictures is my promise to myself and daughter to live a day without worry (she is the object of much of my worry, though my tendency to do so precedes her) and she was not with me for the 2 days I enjoyed the Oregon Coast.
Manzanita to Nehalem, the best 6-mile walking beach ever:
Sweet inn where I stayed. I’d love to have a little 2-room cottage like this when I live sans child someday.
Now, come along with me on the 6 or 8 or 10 miles of Tillamook Head Trail from Seaside to Crescent Beach (depending on which guide you see). In mud it feels like 10. Fortunately, as I was looping around to turn back toward Seaside, I shared 2 miles with a lovely retired couple (physics professor and medical technologist) visiting from Florida who were happy to give me a ride back to my car at the trail entrance. It is times like these that allow me to appreciate human nature I tend to view as less nurturing than nature herself.
I share this poorly shot video on a tiny digital cam (not video cam) to give a glimpse of 4 miles in mud with 1000 feet elevation gain and the great ambient sounds of a place that feels like home to me. A move back to Oregon is likely in my future. Someday I hope to afford to camp out solo for a week, not just a day, to see what I learn about myself and all the flora and fauna by observing.
Eggs from some amphibian?
Look up you silly! Salmonberries!!
A little Pacific brown salamander meandering:
Another lovely fungus:
Four miles of this:
To get to this:
More miles to get to this:
Shoes like this mean a great day without worry!!
And a great meal for the mud queen (Marzano’s takeout in Manzanita, roasted veggie calzone, great fresh salad and soup).