Red House Retrospective

I don’t want to hex us, but I find myself REALLY appreciating this mild winter weather. The pleasantness has served as a distraction from the ongoing drumbeat of destruction. So, let’s review.

The red house, you will recall, fell off the bank on Thanksgiving Day. For a good two weeks it still looked like a house.


Someone had begun to salvage the siding, but the interior was still a stew of insulation, lumber, mattresses, playing cards and a  paperback self-help book about Relationships.


A week later almost all the debris was gone. Was it salvaged, or did it wash away? The resulting spaces were inviting in their openness and emptiness, still conveying some warmth even if you had to turn your head sideways to feel it.


In art school, back in the prehistoric Post-Modern era, the art babble would flow floriferously about the Hand of Man, usually applied to pictures of strip mining, strip malls and the like. (Also known as: Rape of The Land.) I still wince recalling some of that chatter.  At Washaway, it is the Hand of Man that seems fragile.

12/ 24 /11

By Christmas eve, the red house was starting to flatten out.

Christmas weekend brought some of the highest tides of the year, or “King” tides, 10.4, and the following day, a 10.2.

12/ 25 /11

I read a book called Wisdom Sits In Places that was about the Native Americans naming places for what happened there: Medicine Creek, Dead Man’s Canyon, Snake River, and such. To say the name of the place was to keep alive the stories and feel a connectedness to the people that came before you.

So I find myself wandering around, taking pictures and talking to myself, saying, “This used to be here, this used to be here, this used to be here, remember?”  trying to talk the beach into permanence.

12/ 31 /11

By New Year’s Eve, only a few concrete pier blocks remained where the red house had been.

Did I mention the weather’s been super nice? The light was the color of an opal.

A luminous sunset over the wind-swept beach closed like a curtain on that has-been old year.


About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at
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4 Responses to Red House Retrospective

  1. dagmar says:

    thank you.

  2. Carolyn Skye says:

    I love your imagery, sense of humor and words of wisdom. Thank you for your continued updates of washaway “Usedtobe” beach

  3. Marcy says:

    …and the red house says, “I’m melting!”
    Enjoying the photos and narrative! Thanks!

  4. Wendy says:

    I live in Utah but used to come there every summer when I was growing up…..relatives have tried to describe the progress of the ocean but i think your article captured the feeling of it perfectly!!

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