Full Moon Umpqua Samhain

Island Scene

Spence here: It is a very windy, sunny afternoon and I am smiling. Billy and I decided to take a little break from all the habits we’ve formed… coffee, beer, sugar, cheese, work. It is so easy to fall back into what I dubbed “The Portland Routine”. That goes along with copious amounts of coffee and then switching to beer and cynicism in the afternoon. Our recent trip to the ocean has renewed my intentions and positivity. Reset, I shall try not to let all the complaints of our modern lives get past my warm striped sweater.

We drove just past Reedsport on the Oregon coast to visit a state park we hadn’t been to before, Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We celebrated the full moon on Novemeber 6th and the first of the “Darker Days”, according to Samhain traditions. Why this coincided with my feeling of being more positive, I’m not sure. I guess when I am playing on the beach, barefoot in the sand, it reminds me to explore, be curious, laugh into the wind and enjoy. You know how little kids just run around in shorts and a t-shirt and never seem to get cold? I collected driftwood, took pictures, daydreamed, laid in warm sand and poised over mostly inert beach creatures. Nice weather and being with Billy for two days off helps! He really fuels my imagination. We hiked a bit around Lake Marie and through the Oregon Dunes. Luckily, since it was during the week, there wasn’t any ATV users running up the dunes or breaking the sound barrier of nature. The trees and frogs all seemed a bit relaxed. The yurt we rented was certainly deluxe, as it had a heater, shower, flushing toilet and mini kitchen. In the evening, we drove to the beach to see the moon rise and low tide. On the way, we passed the lighthouse, which I think is my favorite lighthouse of all time. Sadly, we didn’t get a picture of it all lit up in the dark night, as it was glorious! Red and pink and white light streamed out and cast on the surrounding trees. The middle of the source shown so bright, like a glittering red diamond heart. I’ve never seen such light so close up and I will hold it in my memory for when those shadows creep long after 40 days of rain.

Our adventure continued as we headed north towards Portland. We stopped at a cute little “natural foods” cafe in Florence and got served up some homemade burgers, veggie and meat. There was a cool old, well-loved RV parked out front, so I figured it’d be good eatin’. The person whom I presumed correctly was the movable home’s owner, was a lovely, peaceful older man with unkept hair and a silent genius smile. He lingered over the newspaper with soft eyes and a bowl of fruit. Now one of my favorite beaches, we discovered, north of Florence within the boundaries of the Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, was at a free wayside along the road. Miles of wild beach stretched out, with narely a plastic water bottle to be seen. We played all afternoon, and in the end, went to a park called Driftwood Beach to watch the sunset. Billy and I were both thinking it would be hard to pass by the Rogue Brewery in Newport without a visit, so we broke the diet and ordered up the best beers and fish and chips this side of Mars.

Next week, our post may be a little short, as we are making plans to return to the high desert of New Mexico to retrieve more of our beloved musical instruments and visit our beloved, magical weirdos. I can’t wait to see the friends and hug them and laugh and sit in the desert mermaid hot tub. As winter comes to us, be it shorter days, cold nights, storms and wood stoves, let it soften our minds and hearts a little.

Billy here. Ill keep it short and sweet today. I want to mention a moment that has been pressed into my heart: watching the full moon rise at low tide on the evening of Samhain. The ocean was dark and song-full after dusk. Behind us the glassy sand was silvery with water, with the moon and the flashes of the lighthouse beneath it, so that it seemed we were walking out on top of the water. Spence said out loud, “It’s like we’re walking on the ocean!” We were in between worlds: between the sunset and the moon rise at full moon, between the ocean and the shore, between summer and winter. But we were more than between, we were at that point that touched all points. The gate was thrown open wide and everything could come to us for a moment. I was so free that I was afraid, because I could let even death in. Because the whole sea could take us away in a tsunami and we wouldn’t know the difference. Because this moment contained everything, like looking into deep space and seeing the Big Bang, if ever such a thing happened.

If time and space are the same, we could sing our way back into being. And everything was singing. It was so beautiful and terrible to hear all at once that I could have died laughing.


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