The mileage added up to just a grand
Not a lot for 20 days,
No crossing of a dateline
Or a continent’s divide.
But still that world seemed somewhat foreign
and I saw streams of amazing things,
That were echoes of my teenage self,
As different now as I was then.
A hazy forest, dark and damp
Where the mist turned into fairy snow
And we walked on in muddy shoes
To learn the mysteries of falling water.
A midas treasure of wave-borne findings
Spilling from a cavernous hall
Pieces of so many lives found
Floating on the morning tide.
Stories of a Nippon sailor’s life
From things that got thrown overboard
Images of fishing boats
In round glass ***** and floats of cork.
Carve the circle with a line
That led to a reunion of
The ones that I grew up beside
But never quite was welcomed in.
A rounding up of recollections
Shared at tables set for eight
Where those left out still don’t fit in
And bonhomie was the music played.
To the ocean of my childhood days
Waves that tell me who I am
And fill up all the empty spaces
City life drained out of me.
A shining tower with ninety steps
That wound around like pizza slices
And tripped me up to ******* blood
As balsa airplanes spiraled to the ground.
No time for wounding on the schedule
Shedding blood but never tears
The leader of the band played on
Admiring a Tsunami boat
Come all the way from far Japan
With cargo of the local fish
Still swimming in the unspilled sea.
A miracle born from true disaster.
Another beach, not like my own
A warmer, calmer span of sand
With jutting rocks in shallow surf
That dare you out to climb them.
Drawn once more to city lights
And the grassy ***** where mother lies
There were other gardens to enjoy and
And contrivances with just two wheels.
How quickly we grew shuttered in-
Just two days in big city life,
The restaurants and funny shows
Still told us it was time to go.
Longing for the beauty of the Gorge
We were met by smoke and blackened stumps
And exits blocked to waterfalls, ravaged
By the fires of ****, and **** now for 50 years.
A teenage boy with fireworks and no sense
Destroyed the loveliest drive on earth
And bragged to all his awestruck friends
That all the news stories were about him.
With fingers crossed at Mount Rainier,
The sunny weather turned to slush and
Fell two inches in an hour. I ate fresh snow
Off branches as we hiked, and froze my tongue.
We wore the heavy coats we almost didn’t bring
And cheered when sunshine took the snow away
And we could walk in forests once again
On trails we never knew were there.
A wonderland of cast off parts and metal bits
Became giraffes, seahorses and other marvels
In the hands of a roadside welding artist
Who sold a giant piece to my home town.
A visit with a sister who shared my youth but not my soul
Who grew one way and I another
Leaving not a thing in common for us
Except the love that comes from blood.
No way to avoid the final city
Hellish place of one way streets
Endless detours and construction
Pay all you own to park two hours.
Yet there was the comedy and
Segways once again to ride.
A troll under a hulking bridge and
Poor Rapunzel in the tower.
Passing up the tourist musts,
Visited in journeys past, we saw
The small and quirky things
That make a foreign city yours.
Twenty days, almost no rain
Unheard of in that rainy clime
A lot of sun, some cloudy skies
A bit of snow to frost the cake.
Twenty days to drive a circle
On the map of who I am
And where I came from
To bring it all back here with me.
To this place so vastly different
I wonder how I found a way
To fit inside this giant tumbler
And plant a seed that actually grew
A would-artist long ago
I wonder how I mixed the paint
To make a life so changed, in colors
Blended from Seattle’s soils.
Painted on a Portland canvas
With a brush of Longview bristles
Wetted with Pacific water
To present my image to the world.
Should anyone be curious about our route, here it is: Fly to Seattle, pick up car, Ferry to Kingston on Olympic Peninsula, drive to Hurricane Ridge and Sol Duk. To Forks (No interewst in Twilight locations) to Beachcomber museum, and Hoh Rainforest. Aberdeen (skipped Curt Cobin park) and Longview. Class reunion. To Long Beach (the only REAL beach on the west coast), To astoria to climb the tower (and fall). Maritime museum and that tsunami boat. Seaside, Canon and Red beach. Tillamook and the cheese factory. Portland. Mom's grave. The poor mutilated Columbia Gorge, to Umatilla. Then through Yakima and Ruchland to Mt. Rainer Nat. Park.
To Puyallup (properly pronounced pew-al'-up) to see sister and on to Seattle for the last 3 days, then home.
*** - I've just done a boring vacation letter. Be glad you aren't on my Christmas newsletter list !!