Saturday, May 10, 2014

A dog's life, briefly

We're two weeks returned from our five days at Cannon Beach and Idaho's ambivalent spring brings us Oregon coast weather -- windy, in the 50s, occasions of light rain.

The same weather that serves as curative when observed from a beachfront cottage numbs the brain and darkens the soul when it extends to several weeks and happens from our perch in Idaho, which is pretty enough but there are no ocean sounds as compensation.

Charlie, of course, loves the beach, where I let him run without a leash. This was fine with most of my fellow beach-walkers, many of whom had dogs with no leashes as well. Charlie, alas, doesn't understand that not all humans find him irresistible, so his attempt to give one old fellow's hand a little nudge of the nose went awry.

"He should be on a LEAD," the man said, pointing a gnarly finger at me. I was in too good a place to react in a hostile manner, though I now wish I walked up to him, all smiles, and snapped his finger right from his hand. Wouldn't THAT have been a funny tale to tell! Instead, I just said, "Come on, Charlie," and we kept walking toward Haystack Rock.

I admit that I had moments -- brief, but real -- when I became restless there in our remodeled 40s-era motor lodge room on Ecola Creek, a bad Frisbee throw from the beach, with a view of Tillamook Light and points northwest. I got over it, but I was reminded again that my fantasy of living happily in a beach cottage with Kathleen and the pup, surrounded by reading materials and firewood, is an idea whose time will likely never come. Restlessness was usually resolved by a trip to Ecoloa Seafood for oysters or chowder, or a nap. We left the sliding glass door always open a smidge to get the full effect of the wind, rain and waves.

Charlie's unabated joy at running wide circles on the beach, occasionally sniffing the odd dead sea creature or chasing a sea gull, was not as delightful as my first walk on Cannon Beach, when Kathleen and I, a little tipsy from too much local wine, leaned hard on each other for balance. It was, however, pretty close. We would return to our little kitchenette and he would find a perch on the patio next to my chair, and we'd resume contemplating absolutely nothing. Yes, occasionally, matters of work or something similar would creep in, but these weren't allowed to remain long.

It may be possible, edging as I am toward the back third of middle age, that I have learned finally how to travel -- by staying put. We did a little of this and that -- we were two blocks from downtown Cannon Beach, after all -- but mostly we did nearly nothing. We made one quick trip to Seaside, because one must visit Norma's, which perhaps I'll write about some day. Could we have stayed longer? Yes. A week longer? Yes. A month? Probably not. So there's the threshold; somewhere between two and four weeks. One day we'll  put it to the test.

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