When Fog Met Smoke

I’ve taken many a walk on Oregon’s socialist ocean beaches, but the one the other morning (Wednesday) was unlike any other.

It was early and I walked alone. Where the sun should have been was nothing but a dull orb. Smoke had met fog and both were engaged in some kind of cosmic battle for the sun’s appearance. There was a metaphor in there somewhere, but I had other thoughts on my mind, like more lyrics for a country song.

Everything around me was colored a blunted orange and gray. It was the strangest combination of color I’d ever observed. At one point I took a picture of the color but the image turned out merely gray. Interesting, I thought. My camera couldn’t pick up the color.

The ocean was doing its thing, of course, as were the few gulls I encountered. I walked to my complex of forts expecting them to be smashed to smithereens from yesterday’s gusts.

Surprise! Joy! Not a single one blown out! I get better at fort building with every new fort. What’s that they say about having to do something for 10,000 hours to become an expert at that activity. What about 100,000 hours at something?

As I left the beach and walked home, I wondered if this unique color would last all day, and how it might color people’s lives. I also thought about the last line from a poem by Richard Hugo, perhaps my favorite poem, “Port Townsend, 1974,” a poem set at the ocean’s edge.

That line is: we are absurd.