What a dichotomy of a season spring is turning out to be. Clamming is open except when it isn’t. Salmon is pouring out of hatcheries, but you shouldn’t catch salmon. Roadside flowers are bursting into bloom, but you can’t see them because the grass allergies are making your eyes water. The sun is shining down warmly on the beach, but about all that is coming ashore for the combers is plastic junk. The deer population is out in force with sleek, pregnant mommas, but last year’s fawns look like someone has taken a thatching machine to them due to tremendous infestations of lice. Birds are twittering as they build nests, but the crows continue harassing the eagles.
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Has Mother Nature run amok with a huge D-9 on Grays Harbor beach lines this winter or what? Massive erosion has turned dunes into swales of scooped out sand held in place with scraggly lines of bent and broken dune grass. Logs, whole trees, bushes and miscellaneous debris choke off paths to the beaches. Headlands are eroded nearly beyond recognition.
All the unusually many king tides this season makes one ruminate about water invading swales, sloughs, swamps, creeks, estuaries, deltas, ditches, fields and backyards and then about the state Department of Ecology’s oil study that centered on just the main port area.
The few weeks after Thanksgiving are just an oddball time. If you aren’t a shopper, that leaves you with mucking around in wet weather like some old broody hen. If you are the family cook, you did your share of that for Thanksgiving and sure don’t want to face Christmas baking.
Huzzah! It is fishing time! The kids are back in school. Most of the tourists are back home and the rain has cooperated to put the fishermen back in the rivers. There are a lot of females gloriously celebrating that they have the house to themselves. Perhaps men think it is great for their species to be on a quiet river, but that’s peanuts compared to a woman in her own quiet house.
They came on July 18 — more than 1,000 of them — from four Coastal Indian tribes, all fish people. The Quinaults hosted the celebratory occasion with the Quileutes, the Hoh, the Queets and the five confederated tribes of the Quinault. It was a momentous occasion, the likes of which has not been seen in a long, long time.
Ah … the days of wine and roses, and other natural resources. That brings to mind one of the North Beach’s 100 years-plus juxtaposition of an old Grays Harbor company that provided a lot of paychecks for North Beachers. The old Anderson &Middleton folks ran logging camps and huge mills for that 100 years.
One thing about beach time, it gives you plenty of space to cogitate about things … Things like water.
Well, dog gone. Just when folks have begun to look out for fresh crab from Larry Thevik on the Midnight Star at the Ocean Shores Marina the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries on the southern coast of Washington will close until further notice because of elevated marine toxin levels, state shellfish managers announced. The coffee drinking groups despairingly nodded their heads in commiseration until they read more carefully that the area north of Point Chehalis, including Grays Harbor, remains open to commercial and recreational crab fishing.
So, Mother’s Day is over and you wish you could done more for Mom. Well, Ma Nature is giving you a second chance. One thing about Mom as opposed to Mother, is that it is the simple things in life that make her heart glad.
Ah… Warm spring beach weather. It’s just right for finding a comfortable dune facing the bar, lying down under a blue sky, and watching the Pasha car/truck transport freighter wallowing across the froth of the bar on its way down the deep channel while a gray whale frolics in its wake. Life just doesn’t get much better.
Folks along the beach have gotten quite excited over seeing yards sprouting crocus, homestead locations hosting huge patches of daffodils, having their hearts warmed by the blooming cherry trees at the Hoquiam High School as they head into town, and are joyed by the myriad types of willow along the beach that are showing off pussy willow catkins.
Boy howdy … It’s time for that old saying about heading toward higher ground.
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.
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.
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