The new year has rolled in with some new news that sounds like old news, but, that is the joy of living on the beach—the more it changes the more it remains the same. So here we are enjoying the clam tides, looking for what’s coming in on the beach sands of the Pacific Ocean, drilling holes in the ground, and keeping a watchful eye on the commercial crabbers’ lights.
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The beach is awash with mixed messages in time, nature and expectations. What a month it has been and guarantees to continue to be.
This the season of ambient light on the North Beaches. That time of the year when the diffused sunshine sets a glow on the Old Man Moss and the lichens on the trees, and sets the yellow leaves of the deciduous bushes glowing like candlelight. Even though fall did not brush color on the vine maple, or on the Big leaf maples in the river bottoms, the sun brings cheer to the increasingly gloomy days. Makes one miss the glowing cranberry field that used to be a special, fall treat out on Burrows Road.
Whooee! The rain has come to the North Beach in earnest. Flooding along ditches sure makes the beachers glad the county has maintained the stretch through Ocean City to Copalis Beach. That made even grandmas cuss each November when cars stalled out in water over the highways.
The month is certainly in full hues of orange and black. The sunsets have been spectacular, the harvest moon even brighter, and the murders of crows and ravens splash the sky and tree branches with their ebony beauty.
Autumn has officially arrived according to the calendar, but the beachers all know it’s here because you can still drive the backroads admiring the beginning blush of fall colors and listen to the purr of Kenworths, the powerful growl of the Peterbilts and the heavy sounds of a Mack changing gears on a hill.
Up the beach’s back roads at this not-quite-fall time of the year, brings back old memories. Memories of Mom, memories of Gram. You can almost see them alongside the road. Mom with her apron gathered into a big pocket for her finds and Gram and the aunties with baskets or lard buckets swinging from their hands.
Ahh … at last … The summer days have dwindled down to September, which means summer folks have gone back to their urban abodes and beach folks are free to act like themselves again.
August at the beach has not been this hot in years. Seems odd but the sun-worshippers and heat seekers are having a great time this summer.
Well, here it is August already. Vacation time is just about over. This week is sort of slack time for the beachers. It isn’t time for school clothes shopping, not time for the mad rush of Labor Day tourists, not even time yet to think of fall hunting and fishing.
July is all about the beach. Kids digging holes in the sand, teens flying kites and hanging out of car windows, old folks in lawn chairs taking in some sun, and all kinds of people doing everything between.
Sometimes we just take things for granted on the North Beach. Like land forms… We just get so busy admiring the lushness of this year’s incredible foliage and flowers that we forget they are attached to land.
What is a day in May with sunshine and west-southwest winds? Bet you never in a million years thought it would be beachcombing weather. Well it is … What is the cause of all this beacher activity? All the Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore, of course.
We have arrived at that peculiar time of the year when it isn’t really spring, not really winter, certainly isn’t summer, not graduation time, almost past beachcombing time, but a time similar to being thunderstruck, except there is hardly anything new to contemplate so may as well remember when it was like about 20 years ago.
April showers may bring May flowers, but the best thing the showers bring are Canada goose and Mallard duck pairs. Now, that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling, since they are symbolic of long lasting, faithful, loyal loving.
Spring has sprung. How do I know? About 12 varieties of local pussy willows are displaying catkins, birds are busy nest building, deer are shedding winter coats and the true harbinger of spring—skunk cabbage—is bright yellow in all the soggy spots around the North Beach.
Well, Dorothy, you are not on the old North Beach anymore, to paraphrase a famous movie line from the Wizard of Oz. Things they are a changin’.
Sometimes one should just keep his or her big mouth shut and his or her fingers off the computer keyboard. Apparently, my writing so smugly about no snow or Eastern cold weather at the beach resulted in last Saturday’s unexpected comeuppance. Ma Nature decided maybe the beachers needed a blast from the Arctic just to honestly appreciate what they live with the majority of the time.
What a January! The weather bounces around like a ball tied to a ping-pong paddle with a rubber band. Cold. Freezing. Windy. Spring warm. Warm enough to see daffodils poking up three-inches high in a lot of North Beach folks’ yards.
The cold weather has some folks sitting with their feet up against the fire or resting on the open oven door trying to get warm again. Beach folks live on the beach because it rains, not because the thermometer falls lower than 40 degrees.
The Christmas-to-New Year’s week brings to mind hardy local storm watchers and winter beachcombers, as well as those who flock to the coast from inland. This bunch is totally exhilarated with ice-cold noses, wet gloves, freezing water inside boots and shoes and a family dog hogging the car’s heater on the way home.
What ya gonna do on the beach when it’s freezing outside, ice is on the streets, you are wrapped up in a blanket, because, of all times, your heater has gone out, you are stuck drinking bad coffee and can’t do a bloomin’ thing?
Some of us beachers are of the firm belief that if God had intended everyone to see the sunrise he would have made it come up at noon. But one thing that is worth getting up early for is heavy frost on ferns, salal, cedar boughs and prickly spruce needles. Snow should stay in the mountains where it belongs, but frost that sparkles like diamonds, zircons, and rhinestones is just fine because it has enough sense to go away before noon.