Monday, July 21, 2014

A poem from our daily walk: this time the forest won



Annie and I walk most days up a gravel road through an area that used to be all coastal forest. It lies in the airport flight path and was once planned to be a large recreational complex with a golf course, houses and other buildings, but they were never built. Over the years, we have watched big machines rip out the trees and leave sections nearly bare, but the plants always grow back. The rabbits, deer, cougars and snakes return. However, a couple of the old bulldozers remain. I don't understand this waste of machinery that just sits there and rots, but they are here, slowly falling apart as the forest reclaims its land. Today I share this picture and poem with you. 


Captured

Long ago the bulldozers came,
jaws ripping down the pines and Sitka spruce,
merciless tires smashing through
blackberry vines, cow parsnip and buttercups,
leaving a graveyard of sun-bleached trunks
among which the deer could find no food.

Now the hard-hat men work somewhere else,
but they left their big machine behind.
The grass has grown so thick only a rabbit
could run to the rusting steel hulk
to sniff at its cracking leather seat,
its gears, its knobs, a forgotten glove.

Scotch broom surrounds it like a fence,
seed pods rattling against the rails.
Thorny vines wrap around its rotting tires.
Crows perch on the top and shit
while a single purple foxglove plant
dances in front of the deadly jaws.

Copyright 2014 Sue Fagalde Lick (Please don't republish this anywhere, including online, without my permission)

Monday, July 14, 2014

A coastal county fair in the rain




A Sunday afternoon in July. The sky is gray, and it’s raining on the last day of the Lincoln County Fair. I see people walking around in their hoodies, a guy in the grandstand singing and playing guitar, not a soul in the audience. Everything is half empty and tired-looking: ponies waiting for somebody to ride them; carnival rides, half running, one little boy in the lady bug cars; pigs, cows and sheep in the animal barn, unaware that they’re future food; chickens, goats, and rabbits, a duck swimming in a plastic pool; back exhibit hall almost empty, a few knit and crocheted items and one case of baked breads and pies. The main hall echoes with a guy giving violin demos as people wander past booths selling jewelry and kitchen knives or advertising local causes, and stare at the snakes and lizards in the reptile exhibit. Outside, a few people line up to buy elephant ears and sausage dogs. There’s nothing happening in the rodeo area. Best action is at the Pick of the Litter thrift store where I scored some 50-cent CDS, $1 picture frames and a piano book. Like the buildings it occupies, the county fair is tired and falling apart, but it keeps going.





Monday, July 7, 2014

Coastal Fourth: Halibut, elk and la de da



Ah, Fourth of July on the Oregon Coast.

We started with the La De Da parade in Yachats. It’s a parade unlike any other. No marching bands, no floats, just ordinary folks in their most outrageous get-ups marching in a big circle from the Commons to the park that overlooks the waves crashing off the rocks and around the bend and down the street overlooking the bay. You’ve got your umbrella drill team twirling umbrellas in unison, your tree huggers decked out in ivy crowns, your folks from the pizza place dressed like giant pepperoni slices, your dogs in patriotic sweaters, George and Martha Washington taking a stroll, a rock and roll band playing blow-up plastic guitars, and the local ambulance and fire truck drivers rumbling through, honking their horns. The onlookers are as colorful as the marchers. In a half hour, it’s over and folks are gathering to eat barbecue and homemade pie.

I brought two young friends, Ashley, who just moved down here from Alaska, and her friend Matt, who lives in Davis, California. This was their first introduction to Yachats. They were appropriately delighted with both the parade and the sunny but not too hot weather.

For lunch, we joined the noisy crowd at the Drift Inn. As we ate and talked, this guy came in, shouting, “Fresh halibut!” He carried a gigantic dripping fish over his shoulder as he walked between the tables where tourists ate nachos and clam chowder. They put down their forks and spoons and applauded. He brought in two more halibut. I wonder where he put them in the small kitchen at the back. It would be like trying to fit a Buick into a Barbie garage.

After lunch, my guests headed north while Annie and I took our usual walk, then relaxed with a bit of the “Sex and City” marathon happening on TV. Still to come were the Newport fireworks.

Most years I decide I’m not going to go. Too crowded, too late, I don’t need it. But then I start hearing the popping of the aerial displays. I can't see anything because of the trees that surround my house. I can’t stand it. I get in my car and drive until I can see some of the fireworks from some illegal parking spot on a hill. This year I decided to go see them on purpose.

By 9:00, it seemed everyone in Newport and a few thousands tourists had gathered on both sides of Yaquina bay with their folding chairs, their glow-in-the-dark necklaces and their boxes of do-it-yourself fireworks. In every direction, Roman candles shot up into the air, little kids swirled sparklers, and big kids lit up things that went boom. The smoke grew thick like fog. The air over the bridge and over the hills lit up with starbursts of color. Dogs barked, kids screamed, and mosquitoes went crazy with so many people to bite.

The official fireworks started at 10:00, lit from a barge in the middle of Yaquina Bay. All around me, people raised their Smart Phones and iPads, trying to take pictures. Me too, until I realized I could either take pictures or actually see the fireworks. Pop, bang, ooh, wow, ahh. I’ve seen bigger displays, coordinated with patriotic music, but this one was good and the company was great.

Then came the applause and the traffic jam, but nothing like I remember back in San Jose when it might take two hours to get home. When I drove into my neighborhood in the woods at 10:45, my headlights picked up a young male elk standing in the street. As I paused, he ambled over to the neighbor’s yard and calmly stared at me as I drove to my house at the end of the block.

And people wonder why I moved to Oregon.