Tuesday, September 02, 2008

End of Summer Adventures

One of the many events Port Angeles uses to lure tourists and their dollars is the Sand Castle Festival in August. Along our Hollywood Beach downtown, sculptors from all over the world carve wet sand into amazing figures. This was my favorite, about the origin of jazz, in a Cubist/Futuristic style.

Any trip downtown calls for a stop at The Little Oven, where Eric and Liz make the best croissants west of Paris. The kitchen is not much more than ten feet by ten feet, with a line of patrons out the door. The smiling bakers have a friendly word for each customer and always want to meet and hear the story of every new guest I bring in.

You may remember last fall's hike from Lake Ozette to the Pacific coast with Katie and Sally. Unlike last year's raging storm, this year the sky was blue and sunny, and more like a pleasant stroll, than a test of survival skills.

After three miles of boardwalk through the rain forest, we reached the beach, stacked with huge salt and sun bleached trees...and a Very Tame deer family. They must be related to the ones who like to hop through my sedum and eat the flowers off my geraniums at home.

Maybe the deer were hired by the park to add a picturesque touch to the beach scene. Unlike last year's hike when we were the only hardy souls eating our picnic in the wind and rain, we had company on the beach this time.

We were way out on the Northwestern edge of the country, and all but two of the license plates in the parking lot were from Washington. Now that gas prices are so high, people are discovering the scenic beauty of their own areas....although at breakfast the next morning, I gave a German man and a French woman directions to Hurricane Ridge.

I feel very fortunate to live in an area with so much natural beauty.

In the Hastings family, each day of exercise ends with a food treat. Actually, every day is planned around food treats, and we are also famous/notorious for our pictures of food.

Here Hugh prepares to photograph the chantrelle, asparagus, white sauce, and onion pizza before we demolished it. On the night he and Connie arrived from Seattle, Hugh picked a collander of wild blackberries from the field in front of my house, and Connie, West Seattle Queen of Pies made us a heart-shaped blackberry pie.

For the Labor Day weekend, with two major hikes, and lots of walking and shopping, the food won out over the exercise, and I gained a pound. Thank goodness for that 6-mile hike through the forest or it would have been much, much more.

The Labor Day Weekend wasn't just all fun and games. The Big Doll is coming along--there will be at least a million stitches by the time she's done, I'm sure. Hugh is holding the maquette, and he's at least 6'2", so you can get a sense of her amazing presence.

There is only about 6" from the top of her head to the peak of my ceiling.

When I'm not obsessing about food, or making up stories, I am considering my next Art Move. Trudging the last mile back zig-zagging through the trees on the boardwalk (2 feet wide, from native cedar--how did they get the materials all the way out into the woods?) I saw the crooked path through tall trees, painfully continuing to put one foot in front of the other, as that was the only way to get through and back to civilization, as a metaphor for my Art Life. I can't see the end, but must trust my need to keep going, one little step at a time, even though it may feel bewildering and painful and trust that the destination will be at least interesting, if not Spectacular. Like making a nine-foot doll with no particular place to go, writing books, or teaching in France (more about that next time). Although I can get lazy I am always happy afterward when I give myself the Big Challenges...even when I don't know exactly where they might lead me, and when looking at the journey as a whole seems totally Overwhelming, I put one foot in front of the other and keep going--good advice for all.



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