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September 23, 2011 / annakpf11

Scotty Odyssey—South Oregon Coast

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
—Wendell Berry


By now, all my internal questions of “Why are we doing this?” have receded into certainty: “Of course we’re doing this!” Whether due to time, habituation, or the benevolent inspiration of these wild places, I can’t imagine being anywhere but where we are, doing what we’re doing.

The sunny drive up Oregon’s south coast reveals wonder after wonder. Evergreen topped islands, crescents of beach and moss-covered woods, all cradled by vast blue sea and sky.

Just outside of Port Orford, we find the homey and bucolic Elk River Campground. A pastoral setting with clean bathrooms, free showers and even a wireless network. Many of the residents live here full time, the rest seem to camp here for several months during fishing season. Basil spends all afternoon lolling on the grassy field next to our trailer while I catch up on blog postings and Dave explores the village of Port Orford with his camera.

When the burly owner/manager of the campground, “Coot” is his name, finds out where we are from, he expresses interest—at arms’ length. “My daughter lives somewhere near Frisco—not sure where, never been there. She visits me here. I don’t go down there.” Into that den of iniquity, he might as well have added. I see his point.  Easy to imagine how someone used to low population density and slow-paced country life would find the Bay Area with its seven million residents a bit overwhelming. Oregon’s entire population is less than four million, and over two million of those live in the Portland area.

Before departing the next morning, we take the time to hike around the point of land where the coast guard used to operate a lifeboat station.

Sunshine and warm temperatures bathe the landscape. Basil runs off leash.

Fir and broad-leaved forest gives way to a rocky promontory and sheer cliffs dropping away to the sea.

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