The Southern Oregon Coast:
I affectionately coin the phrase: Oregon is the perpetual vacation destination. What an amazing state of mind. The natural landscape of the Oregon coast is breathtaking: Craggy cliffs, gigantic sea stacks rising out of the ocean and miles of desolate sandy beaches. I understand why it is one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders.
As I drive north from Brookings on the famous Route 101 the fog is rolling in creating a ghostly feel on this February day. I’m in awe of the natural beauty around me. I see a sign for Harris State Park and I pull in, park and walk to the beach. It feels as though a storm is approaching. The waves are fast and furious as they unleash their fury, crashing over the rocks. In the distance I see what appears to be a graveyard of twisted trees on the sandy beach. Their bark stripped, uncovering their brown and grey underbelly. Years of constant harassment from the wind, water and sand have turned their once mighty bodies into a shriveled, but smooth carcass. I run my hands over a tree trunk following its soft curves. There is beauty and sadness in the air as I survey the scene. The hand of man is many of the trees undoing.
Deep in thought I walk somberly back to the car and continue my drive to Bandon, another coastal town. I arrive mid afternoon at the Sunset Ocean Lodging which I book a room for the night. The section of hotel I’m staying in overlooks the beach. From experience I book the top-level since I don’t like to hear the sound of heavy feet above me. I gather my overnight bag and head to the room. The decor is basic with beige walls and pine green carpeting. Simple furnishings; two queen size beds, a night stand, and a small square table pushed against the wall with three wooden chairs. A small kitchenette with white cabinetry is against the bathroom wall. In the far corner near the deck is a beige tile fireplace. Nothing fancy but it will do. It will be nice to sit by the fire to ward off the evening chill after my walk on the beach.
The sun is slowly sinking into the western sky as I make my way down the stairs to the sandy beach. The surf is not as rough as it was this morning. The sky is overcast but the sun’s rays shine through creating a white glow on the water. Clumps of tall rock known as sea stacks jut out of the ocean. I stop and look at the humanlike rock formations. A woman sitting with her knees bent searching the vast ocean for her husband who is returning from the sea. I see Merlin in his long robe and pointy hat, his head slightly cocked as though he is in deep thought.
As I walk around the corner I come upon an enormous root ball stranded in the sand. It’s a beautiful sculpture as though it’s on display in a museum. I continue to walk and see the toll from nature. Stairs dangling precariously from the eroded cliffs, houses teetering close to the edge. Soon mother nature will reclaim her land and take back what man has taken from her.