If you need a long break (cause there are lots of stuff in this post and it took me a long time), get by your computer, grab a coke or a coffee, and let yourself be taken away with four grown giddy girls … who two weeks ago spent four days on the Oregon Coast … attended four great Christian Conference sessions … and had lots of free time, fun and food.
Angie (our Tour Guide), Linda (our GPS Navigator), Kathy (First Year Rookie and my Roomie), and myself (Photo Journalist) synchronized our watches to meet at airport security at 10:00 for an 11:00 flight to Cannon Beach by way of the Nordstrom Rack in Portland — to meet up with friends Mary J. and Cathy V. who were coming from Gig Harbor near Seattle. Our other cronies, Kathy S. and Kathy J. couldn’t make it this year and we missed them! (Obviously we like people named Kathy.) 🙂 Angie had already printed our boarding passes so we were in no big hurry and had actually stood around talking about how care free we were going to be … until I reached for my driver’s license in the back pocket of my new curvy straight-leg jeans to find it missing! (I’ve never before had to buy curvy jeans in my life! — but I digress) What! Ahhhh! Instant panic set in as I frantically searched any and all pockets while Angie tried to reach Danielle who had given us a ride to the airport … but Danielle was not answering. Even with me yelling “Danielle, answer your stupid phone!!!” she didn’t hear me because consequently her purse and phone were in the trunk of her car to make room for us. I called Mike at work asking (okay, demanding) him to go home to look for it on the table, my purse, somewhere, anywhere! He was the only one working but being the good guy he is, he shut down the Shop, drove home at warped speed (you did that for me right honey?) but soon called to say he hadn’t found it (adding in a few frustrating grunts that I certainly wasn’t in the mood for at this particular moment). Danielle finally called to say no, she hadn’t found it either. Well somewhere around this time I had the sense we ought to pray about it and so the four of us prayed right there in the airport and seriously suddenly I felt everything was going to be all right. Kathy and I went to the front desk to ask if there was anything I could do. Now, this was news to me — did you know you could get through security w/o a driver’s license? I happened to have two debit cards on me (yes, I planned to do some serious shopping), so they took those, gave me a wink and a smile and sent me on my way. Phew. Disaster averted. Moments later Mike called to say he found it on the drive way (with a much better attitude I must say), so he rushed to the airport, left his truck unattended, and ran at warped speed to security where he handed my DL off to a nice man in uniform who then handed it to me. (Seriously honey, you are the best … have I told you lately how much I love you?!) We got to our gate as the plane was boarding and was spared all that boring time sitting around waiting. Talk about an exciting start to our trip! (Finding my DL? “That was you God, wasn’t it?”)
We rented a car in Portland and would you believe they made us pick out our own car from a long line of full-sized cars. Geez, way to give girls some hard decision-making right from the get-go … do we want the white one or the red one? … the Impala or the Ford? … the leather seats or the cloth ones? We went with the white Ford with leather seats and we were off … our trusty Tour Guide and Navigator in the front seats, and Kathy and I in the back where we discussed photography practically the whole time (while Linda admits later that she and Angie rolled their eyes at us several times). As I shared earlier, we built into our trip a stop in Portland for some lunch and shopping, but to be perfectly honest we were actually being nice to Kathy cause she’s the one that wanted to go — the rest of us secretly wanted to just head straight to the beach, but one step in the store and BAM! our shopping juices started flowing, and we were gonners — gone to ladies wear, gone to the scarves, gone to the shoe department! Our synchronized watches that signaled when we’d be on our way got a little more time added to them and each of us came away with a little more than we went in with. Next stop … Cannon Beach. Our friends Mary and Cathy were there three hours ahead of us and were sending us texts with pictures of the beautiful beach to taunt us. Mary Jones is the one who makes this trip possible. It is her leadership that reserves our rooms (beach front rooms mind you) with the Cannon Beach Conference Center which was the main reason for our trip. This was a Thursday, and the Conference started Friday night. It was low tide that first night at 7:00 pm and it was truly amazing and wonderfully unexpected. (“That was you God, wasn’t it?”)
I have seen low tide at Cannon Beach only one other time almost 10 years ago — it was amazing then and it was amazing now. We were blessed to get to experience low tide three times during our four-day stay. There were starfish by the hundreds in the tide pools.
These next two photos are of the same rock. The first taken our first night, and the second on a different day in the morning. You can see the starfish have definitely shifted their position.
And on two of our outings, these Sun Starfish were in the same pool. On the third outing, they were gone. The first day (and first picture) they weren’t very active, but on the second, they must have been hungry as they were looking pretty intently at this water snail. They were about a foot in diameter and pretty darn cool. On our trip 10 years ago, my Matt found a huge one, measuring about 2′ in diameter.
We saw crabs come out from under their rocks as if to say “hello” and I agree with Kathy that I need to invest in a polarizing filter for my camera.
The following two photos are of Sea Anemones. If you touched them they closed up a bit. Seriously, who comes up with these amazing colors? Oh yea … “That was you God, wasn’t it.”
The beach is such a fascinating place, is it not? I could take hundreds of photos of Haystack Rock and never grow tired of it. While some may say it always looks the same, I disagree. It looks different to me each time I step on the beach depending on the distance and angle. Judge for yourself. This first one is probably one of my very favorites of the weekend and it was taken with my iPhone.
This was where we stayed three nights. It was the last housing at the end of the beach and the water you see was actually a small river outlet from the ocean. People write words and initials on the cement wall and last year when we were here it was covered with colorful messages of love and tranquility from a cultural wedding that took place near by.
There were hundreds of live sand dollars on the beach this year by the water’s edge — and they were big — averaging about 2-4″ in diameter. How do we know they were alive? The live ones are actually a darker color, covered with short spines that look almost like fur. Dead ones are white and smooth. Low tide brings them in, high tide takes the live ones back out. Everyone knew to not keep them, but they were so cool, each looking different from the next.
These fish, whatever they are, were in the tide pool the first night only. Anyone know what they are? The shrimpy looking critter in the second photo was something we’d never seen before. It would pop out as we dug our feet into the sand, then just as quickly bury itself back in. While I’m not certain it was these critters that were food fodder, by the looks of the sand picture something certainly was!
Not living near a beach you don’t get to see some of the things that apparently go on all the time. Take for example the bride in the next few photos “Trashing the Dress” on the beach by Haystack Rock. I was stoked and ran over and asked the professional photographer if I could take a few pictures with the comment “this isn’t something you see every day.” Her reply? “I do.” 🙂 She and the bride happily allowed me to snap away. So while I don’t promote myself for wedding photography, I would sure let you hire me to go to the beach (or Boise River) to trash your dress if you want. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be your wedding dress … any dress with do! 🙂 I was hooked on this fun!
Another a.m.a.z.i.n.g event happened the day before we left when a seal was spotted on the beach by Kathy who was out walking alone. Mary J. and I grabbed our cameras and RAN (just like Forest Gump did — we ran hard!). I’ve heard that momma seals will often leave their baby on shore while she hunts, but this was obviously no baby. She looked like she must have escaped the circus by how tame she appeared to be (to the people who got within six feet of her to snap pictures anyway). She just raised her head high as if to say “yah, you better take a good look cause I’m not gonna be here long.” We don’t know how long she stayed because we had dinner waiting, (and if you don’t know by now, food is the other driving force in my life) but no doubt when high tide came in, she went out. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen on this beach, and even Mary J. in all her years coming here had never seen a seal (or sea lion?) on this particular beach before. (“That was you God, wasn’t it?”)
This sea-foam made me wonder what makes all those beautiful colors come out? Is that natural? Is it chemicals? I don’t know, but it was pretty and probably not something most people noticed. I hope you do now! As for the mussel photo, they were everywhere this year and this particular one gave me pause because of its colors. This is the first texture I have ever applied to a photo, and I did it just for you Kathy G. Hee hee. (She supposedly hates textures. Have I made a believer out of you?)
A budding artist on the beach … the only artist on the beach. He was visiting for the weekend from Montana to do a color study then would complete his masterpiece back home. This made me think of Kathy J. and how she needs to pick up painting again!
People are so interesting don’t you think? Like the woman in the following picture standing all alone outside our rooms. She was standing just as you see her here and when I asked if I could take her picture for my blog she simply nodded then gave me a smile and I snapped the picture. I would love to have heard her story as she seemed so out-of-place, but the timing wasn’t right. She was striking and what I love about this photo is the perfect symmetry of it. So balanced in every way as one might suspect her life is … but we never really know about a person do we? What can look like perfect harmony on the outside can be complete chaos on the inside. God can help with that. Just ask.
One morning early I went out by myself in the opposite direction of Hay Stack Rock (which is still in the background) when I saw this surfer … the only surfer of the weekend. It was a low tide so he had to go out quite far and I lost track of him. How is it to be so all alone in such places? I also ran into an interesting little old man who reminded me of Truman Capote. He had long disheveled gray hair on the sides with none on top and wore clothing that made me suspect he didn’t get out much. I wish I would have asked to take his photo, but I did spend a few minutes talking with him. He was gathering sand dollars from higher up on the beach and putting them in a pile closer down by the ocean tide because he didn’t want them die. How sweet is that. I seemed to have made his day by telling him they would remain alive until the next high tide came and took them back to the ocean, but I wondered later if that was the right thing to say to him. Perhaps they gave him purpose and I took that away. Random thought, but in fact I thought it.
Coming home from the beach one night while going to the Conference Center, I spotted a Prowler Car Show in town. Everything’s a photo-op so why not take a little detour? We just bought a new car the week before this trip — an SUV crossover I fondly call “the bus” — but I’m thinkin’ my grandkids would have been pretty impressed with Gramma had I come home with one of these! Of course they could never have ridden with me … which was the whole point of the bus … but hey, minor details, right.
As for the conference sessions, they were great with wonderful worship music and Catherine Martin of Quiet Time Ministries as our guest speaker. She spoke on grace and recognizing the presence of God in all things we do. It was she that taught us to look and say “That was you God, wasn’t it!” when something happens in our lives that can’t be considered anything but the handiwork of God. It is interesting how many times I have said just those exact words since returning home.
One of the most exciting parts of the trip for me was getting to see Cathy, now 45 pounds thinner since June, have a “What Not to Wear” experience! Have you ever watched that show on TLC? She is such a sweet beautiful woman both inside and out, does so much for her family and husband’s business, but she was still wearing her larger clothes. Why? Because she wanted to lose more weight. Here’s my theory: If you lose 45 pounds, show it off girl! So off we all went to the Outlet Malls where we all picked out new jeans, tops, and a jacket for her to try on. She immediately looked 30 pounds thinner and 4″ taller than she had before walking into the store. Cathy, you look great and good luck on meeting the rest of your weight-loss goal. Just think, you get to go shopping again!
On our way back to the airport we planned a stop at the IKEA store in Portland. It was a full four days of laughter, tears, memories, and God moments. Life is good and it just keeps getting better. Perhaps next year one or more of you will want to make the trip as well? With love to the Sensational Six for making this trip so special. I love you all! Mary
Until then … “Peace Out.“
To view last year’s photos at Cannon Beach, click here. If you would you like to share these photos with Facebook or others just copy and paste the perma-link below. Thank you! Mary