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Spirits of the Oregon Coast
This past Sunday we had a rare treat: a visiting friend of my partner's drove us to the coast, to one of our favorite spot: Hobbit Beach. I packed my spindle and a braid of hand dyed Portuguese Merino, a libation for the ocean spirits, The White Princess on our Kindle, and a tin of Forest Spirit Salve from Sarah Anne Lawless. Unfortunately, I forgot one essential thing about the Oregon coast: it is COLD (at least 30 degrees colder than inland), even in the summer. So I did not take enough warm things with me (no hoodie, no wool socks, and only one long-sleeves shirt) and ended up having a Raynaud’s episode, which made it less fun. I did, thanks to the fact that I’m not Allowed to remove them from my backpack, ever, have hand knitted wool hand warmers with me, and I ended up tightly encasing my hands in those as if they were mittens until the circulation came back (which didn’t happen until after we had left the beach).
However, I wanted to commune with the wild ocean spirits as we stand on the threshold of Hunt season, and I can say that I did accomplish that.
You get to Hobbit Beach by climbing down a rocky trail winding through primeval-looking moss-shrouded forest that forms a tunnel of green until it eventually lets you out onto the beach. The beach itself was windy and overcast, the cliffs towering above us lined with salt-whitened, twisted trees, and there was mist rolling in from the cliffs to one side in a curtain that looked like approaching rain (and maybe was). It was low tide, so I was able to walk out on the sand bars and hunt for treasures, and I found a lovely little piece of coral that looks like a bouquet of seashell roses, as well as a handful of shells, feathers, and lava rocks.
The spirits there, in this place where forest, sky and ocean meet, are about as wild and ancient as they come, and getting to spend a bit of time with them was worth the cold hands. Their unremitting harshness in fact serves as a useful reminder, as we embark on Hunt season, that these are not safe spirits, and that they can and will hurt you if you’re not protected and prepared.
Nevertheless, I hope it won’t have to be years again before we’re able to return; I know Jo would dearly love to live closer to the coast, and so would I. The constant roar of the surf and unbroken rushing of the wind sing in my soul; they call me to dance with the Hunt, to fly off over the waves, into other worlds.
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