Cannon Beach Sea Ranch Zero Day (actual date Wednesday 6/11/14)
In my dream, the distance I have to cover is overwhelming. I navigate mountainous dunes and ridiculously steep single-track trails. I need water. I’m exhausted and can barely lift my heavy legs. My throbbing feet wake me up often. I change my sleeping position, hoping the stressful dream will change. It doesn’t. Women from my past appear one at a time and try to console me but I hear nothing. Their mouths move but there is no sound. I can tell they feel sorry for me. They remove their clothing. I am aware I am dreaming but still I try to touch them. My body feels trapped in mud. I am overcome by embarrassment and press onward. I wish I could find a place to sit down and unload the ripping pressure of my aching feet.
For three weeks the weather has been miraculous. A mere two nights of brief rain but I’ve yet to pull my poncho out while hiking. I might make it to Fort Stevens tomorrow – and if it rains every minute until then I will still feel lucky.
Yesterday a retired woman parked in an RV told me that during her 1-month stay at the Sea Ranch there have been two burglaries. So I throw my valuables (wallet, journal, pen, “The Dollmaker’s Ghost,” and camera) in a stuff-sack that I sling over my shoulder and head into Cannon Beach for some breakfast. It’ll be nice to have something to eat besides a can of peaches bathing in high-fructose corn syrup.
When I place my order I feel like I should offer to help make it. A 60ish man sits in a table near me and I get a sense that he wants to chat. I am overcome by a wave of social anxiety so I nose deeper into my journal and write superfluous entries like, “The silverware is still spotted from the dishwasher,” and, “When I get back to camp I hope I can take a closer look at those rabbits.” The breakfast is forgettable and afterwards I am bummed that I spent good money on it. The used bookstore is closed so I take another look at Haystack Rock and return to the Sea Ranch for a morning nap.
Upon my return, my wish for rabbits is granted. A large, brown rabbit with curious eyes hangs out near my tent, unlike its pals who sprint into the bushes when they see me approach. I take my time getting closer and closer until I am able to sit down next to it without it flinching. It’s bigger than a cat and it eats grass non-stop. I lay down in the grass and eventually doze off until the sound of a crow stealing my Clif bar brings me back to life. The rabbit is gone.
I paint some artwork then read Larry Levis for hours, stopping only to write poems of my own. I’ve never read the same book over and over for weeks and wonder if I’ve lucked out with this one. After filling a dozen pages in my notebook I take another nap. Walking, reading, writing, napping. I swear, this is the life.
The Sea Ranch isn’t all that. Yesterday’s 911 call sort of jump-started the weirdness I feel here and since then I’ve been completely unimpressed. I’m pretty easy going, but at $40/night I expect a few basic things – namely, a clean bathroom. But I’d also appreciate an office manager who doesn’t think I am here to be her sounding board. I swear, every time she sees me she figures out a way to strike up a one-sided conversation. I listen, but don’t really track what she’s going on and on about. I can’t stop staring at her bright yellow and crooked teeth that she’s all too happy to flash in my presence.
I take my third nap of the day and wake up around 6:00pm. This one was more than 3-hours and I had some seriously wacky dreams. I don’t remember them.
I take a final walk into Cannon Beach just as all the residents are heading to their annual town photo being taken on the high school lawn. Families with strollers and dogs, folks on horseback, people in costumes, on bicycles, a few unicycles, pirates and more paraded to the site. I wonder if the town will shut down and I’ll be out my tortillas and beans for tomorrow’s hike. Thankfully I get what I need.
I am up late, past 9:00, wondering if tomorrow I’ll make it to Fort Stevens. I reflect on the past three weeks and how much I appreciate these miles afoot. Rain clouds roll in so I tighten down my flap’s guy lines and call it a night.