I felt brave and solid yesterday so we took off down highway 26 to Cannon Beach. Me, three girls, and an old dog. I expect that no idyllic day at the coast will come without some serious drama and misadventure, and I was right. The eldest cried bitterly for an hour when she realized that she had soaked herself in seawater and then rolled thoroughly in sand and was now coated in sticky granules both inside and outside her clothing. "Well, these are the choices you made" doesn't go very far with a ten year old. Cue face palm for mom. Every time we are at the ocean it goes this way and yet it always surprises her. Ah to be young and oblivious and generally to expect that your comfort and desires will be attended to at any moment. But it was a gorgeous day and we loved every second that we weren't crying. I didn't allow anyone to bring a swimsuit (because of the strange combination of too many clothing changes in a day coupled with a randomly interspersed refusal to change clothing for days on end and general dissatisfaction with swimwear. And finally I realized I don't really care if their clothes come back sandy and wet) so we went in the water fully dressed and it was perfect.
We were finally all retrieved from the beach, lightly dusted off and settled in the car for a mere 30 minutes of our whiny/tired/happy/sunburned drive home when we arrived at a terrible crash that closed down highway 26 for the rest of the day. A sobering reminder that our best intentions are never the final word. There is so much we cannot anticipate that alters our course or ends it. All we have to be secure in is the knowledge of love and the tenacity we cultivate to keep doing the next right thing. So we turned around to settle in at the Elderberry Cafe for an early dinner, which was pretty much exactly like I had always pictured it, orange vinyl seats, a teen behind the register and an overly friendly elderly owner included. That kind and very helpful man informed our four year old that her hair would turn gray if she didn't eat her veggies. She took that in wide eyed before turning to us and repeating in an astonished tone "That guys hair used to be the same color as mine, but then he didn't eat his vegetables!"
The reroute home took us a ridiculously long time but man oh man was it gorgeous. I did not see a detour onto highways 202 and 47 coming that morning but I sure am grateful we went that way. At every turn I exclaimed "that's a little slice of paradise!" and then the girls would say "I see the paradise too!" which just made it even more ridiculously lovely. Horses, cows, goats, flowers, rolling hills, forested areas and tiny homesteads in pastel pinks and yellows. Cow parsley and asparagus ferns crowding the roadways and low fences, and bridge after tiny bridge carrying us criss cross over the Nehalem river. Towering train trestles and gorgeous sun drenched meadows in shades of yellow and purple alternating with stands of Cedar and rolling fields of baled hay. We neighed at the horses, mooed at the cows and bleated at the sheep while blasting Leon Bridges' River and Real Love Baby by Father John Misty. It was pretty dreamy for a detour.
I feel incredibly blessed today. Blessed with safety, a home to return to, an idyllic scenery not far away, kids that are safe in my arms (albeit a little burnt). And I hope to never take for granted these blessings, as mundane as they may be for some of us, these are unattainable dreams for others. So I hope to contribute my efforts more towards the Keep Families Together Act through fundraising and donating what i can. I'll be putting a session up for auction through Still We Rise in just two weeks (check out @_stillwerise for updates on when and which organizations will be benefiting).
Photography is an expression of loving and showing love. When you step in front of my lens that is what you receive; honest, unguarded, kind love.