The dreams of my second night seemed so real at first. Then it got weird.
We spent the afternoon of the first day communing in the Hall of the Sand King. Little did I know, besides setting me on an unexpected quest to save a damsel in distress, the king would send a sandman to haunt me.
Southwest of Coos Bay, Oregon beyond the little burgs of Barview and Charleston, there is a string of state parks hugging the coast: Sunset Bay, Shore Acres, and Cape Arago. This would be our initial destination on day two of the trip.
(Click on any photo for a larger view)
As we walked a short trail that occasionally gave views of the Cape Arago lighthouse I had to wonder. Why isn’t Cape Arago lighthouse within the confines of Cape Arago State Park? It’s actually in the Sunset Bay State Park section.
There must have been some government bureaucracy involved. (I’ve always thought that bureaucracy should be spelled bureau-crazy. Government, corporate, small-town politics, somebody always wants to do it the hard way.)
The bay at Sunset Bay was nice enough, but we were not there at sunset. The light was bright and the seascape was merely ordinary. (I’m a little jaded.) The more interesting section, topographically, was at our next stop, Shore Acres State Park.
Windblown trees and rocky outcroppings etched with abstract shapes give this park more character, along with its forest trails. Who says the best thing about a coastline is a sandy beach?
Of course, nature is an old hand at this. A really oooooooold hand, with a finger like the century hand of a geologic clock.
After exploring a bit more, we headed further south to the town of Bandon, our original target. That’s a story for another day. But we liked this section of the coast; we returned again, later in the day.
Shore Acres has a formal garden. Naturally, I discovered this after the trip was done. But you can’t stop petal power.
There’s a rule of thumb among serious landscape photographers; shoot primarily at the days beginning and end. The light at those times of day is softer, less harsh, more colorful, more appealing. Midday is for scouting, or editing, or going from point A to point B.
I rarely pay attention to that rule.
Largely that’s because of laziness. I’m rarely motivated to get up before the sun and commute to some spot I’ve already scouted out, so I can find it in the dark. Evenings are easier, but all too often I’m comfortably ensconced on the couch, never bothering to go to a place with a view in the first place. If I’m out at all, it’s often at the wrong time of day – convenient for me, but not the best light.
I guess that’s why I’m not a “serious” photographer.
In any case, Mr. Non Serious was looking forward to an actual sunset in the Shore Acres evening. As always for sunsets, we could only wait and hope for magic light.
On this day it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. We could have used a few more clouds and shades of color.
And so at days end, after cruising the south coast and hanging out among the sandstone and the trees and the ocean, we retired to bed and the shenanigans of the Sandman, and what magic the evening light would bring.
Do you remember your dreams? This one seemed so real, until it got weird.
In the beginning, we were back at Shore Acres State Park. The sandstone was up to its usual bug-eyed hijinks.
Then, the scene shifted to Simpson Reef. This reef, a few hundred yards offshore, was the noisy haul in point for hundreds of seals and sea lions, barking and arguing and sticking their noses in the air like a herd of uppity sorority girls.
Leaving the parking lot of the viewpoint, we came upon two crows, chatting.
The weird thing was, I could understand them. They’re just as sarcastic as you might imagine. They were laughing at me, “wait until he meets the king!”
Walking into the forest, I had little idea of what they meant.
Was this the king? A big, wooden octopus? Would those arms suddenly animate, reaching out to envelope me in a permanent embrace?
No. That was just the gatekeeper. Further, within a copse, was the Hall of the Forest King.
Head like a moose, gaping jaws, antlers of wood reaching off into the distance, he eyed me with disdain and laughed a woody laugh. It sounded like a bassoon gone mad.
“Mortal,” he sneered, “how dare you invade my realm? Did you not see what I did to those upstart sea lions? I introduced them to my friend the Sand King.”
“And he’s watching you too. See the Sandman, just over there?”
It was too much. I didn’t want to be a corpse in a copse. I ran, leaving the slowpoke rabbits in my dusty wake. The king laughed again, and began to dissolve.
And as I made it to the ocean, I saw that even the sandstone seemed to dissolve into pools, with ripples of liquidy stone.
Dreams end. For many, the end of a dream has a negative connotation. For this one, in the Hall of the Forest King and the domain of the Sand King, the weirdness was too much. Waking up to the morning light was welcome; the invitation to a more tangible dream, of touring further along the Oregon coast.