Back to the beach

Mid-October saw us back at the Oregon coast for a couple of days. Z’s cousins invited us to join them at their beach house south of Newport, and the four of us enjoyed lots of conversation, an evening out watching the harbor’s resident sea lions and eating delicious seafood, and a couple of long walks on this:

We also spent a tranquil couple of hours in our kayaks, paddling the winding stream of Beaver Creek Natural Area. Fall color hadn’t settled onto the trees yet, and it was warm for the season. We saw a lot of bird activity, and I had a lucky glimpse of a five-inch-long Rough-skinned Newt just strolling along the surface of a submerged log as I glided above.

The ocean air was glorious, but as soon as we passed through the mountains on our homeward trip, our eyes began to sting. In our absence, the central Willamette Valley had become blanketed with the all-too-familiar acrid scent and dingy look of smoke-laden air. For several days Portland and the area to the south had air quality high in the “unhealthy” range due to smoke from wildfires in the region. Fortunately, rain–of which we’d had no measurable amount since June–finally arrived at the end of the week, bringing relief to our lungs. And, I hope, help for the firefighters.

Throughout September and early October, summer seemed to have been weirdly extended, leading to a minor case of “time out of joint” on my part. The arrival of autumnal gloom and rain at last thrilled me. More, please.