I first explored the Oregon coast as an undergrad when I was studying art and photography at the U of O. I kept a 4×5 view camera, a sleeping bag, and a coleman stove in the trunk of my ’63 biscayne. A box of mac and cheese, a few apples, and a jar of instant coffee, and I was ready to spend a weekend poking along the backroads up and down the coast.
One of my favorite spots was the south coast town of Bandon. With a nice state park, miles of beaches to explore, and expresso and pizza available in town, it was a fairly posh spot for camping. That was in the mid ’70’s. Mary and I have travelled there at various times over the years since then, but had not been up for almost a decade.
We drove last week to Bandon, and blessed with mild weather, spent some memorable days enjoying the changing leaves and the autumn light on the ocean.
The sound of the waves and the foghorn at night, drifting through an open window, brought T.S. Eliot to mind. Here are a few photographs, and some of Eliot’s lines from The Four Quartets.
The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches were it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices
Many gods and many voices.
The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir tree.
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same; you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid.