I had the great good fortune to spend much of October 2023 in a solo retreat at the beach house of some generous friends. Located on the Oregon coast south of Newport, the house is a five-minute walk up the cliff from this glorious beach.
I wasn’t entirely alone.
Xanthe the Speckled Menace was excellent company. Here she shows her arboreal nature on one of the beach house’s many ledges and windowsills, which she immediately saw as a jumping and perching paradise. She did not care for the beach–perhaps because of the big loud wet thing adjacent to it–but she enjoyed leash walks in the yard around the house, grumbling at the gulls and jays.
The beach house has neither cell coverage nor wifi. The former was available on the beach or a few hundred yards down the street, the latter at the library in Newport, a ten-minute drive away. It was both liberating and frustrating to be out of the instant communication (and diversion) to which many of us are accustomed. I did some writing, some outlining, and some reading. The latter mostly consisted of books that had lingered too long in the “Unread” category on my Kindle, among which were a number of pretty good books, only one real dud, and one darkly Shining Trapezohedron of a gem, Scott R. Jones’s Stonefish.
I’ve always wanted to have a quiet, extended time next to the ocean. For eighteen days and seventeen nights I had the sound of it in my ears. I saw it every time I looked out the front windows, and I walked along it for an hour or so at least once each day. What a gift.