Our First Fort Together

Elmer the husky and I hit the beach at 5:45 in the morning.

I have always felt that engaging with the world in the early hours around dawn has proved to be one of my greatest creative assets.

The sun poked through clouds hovering over the Coast Range. No wind. The waves rolled in flat, almost nonchalant.

A high tide thwarted vehicles driving down the beach for kicks and clamming.

We had the beach all to ourselves. I let Elmer off the leash and off we went for miles. He stuck near me and often we romped together. He’s the most playful dog I’ve ever owned.

In moments at the ocean’s edge with this dog, I feel my mojo gaining more and more strength. One day, Elmer and I will be doing this daily or more.

Two golden eagles appeared. I saw driftwood scattered near some dunes and jogged over to investigate the prospects for fort building. Elmer bounded behind me.

The prospects looked excellent and I discovered a corral fort with the remains of a campfire inside.

I leashed Elmer to a log and went to work.

Twenty minutes later I stood back and admired my first fort constructed in almost a year. It wouldn’t host a campfire; it was more for contemplation, to stare at the ocean and consider nothing or consider how to get straight with one’s self or others. About ten thousand times more useful than the pablum vomited by high-priced therapists telling people how to live when they have no idea how to live right in the world. It’s one of the great cultural farces of American life the past half century.

I sat on the fort’s front wall and talked to Elmer. I know we’ll relocate to the Oregon Coast one of these years. I also know what I require of locale: a good OTA joint, a library, a socialist golf course and remote beaches with plenty of driftwood so I can build and build more forts and put my record as the state’s greatest driftwood fort builder out of reach forever.