The Farmer’s Almanac called this last full moon the “Cold Moon, when winter fastens its grip,” and noted that the Cheyenne Indians called it “Moon when the wolves run together.” I need to write those wolves a thank-you note. What a blessing for a mild week.

grand estate at dusk 12-5-2The previous week I had met with local legend Les Strange. A name like that, people want to either make jokes about More Strange, or call you an outlaw. But the facts remain that Les has always done right by me, and has already successfully moved two of my trailers, masterfully, and our hopes are high for the Vagabond.

Palace of Crossed Swords and Vagabond

Palace of Crossed Swords and Vagabond

The first trailer he moved was the Aljo, a big, bad trailer from the 70’s with teeming wet carpet and black mold. Both floor and ceiling were collapsing, its shell was fragile as the exoskeleton of a locust, yet it was full of choice building materials: cedar siding, a truly massive 10-foot beam, and more.

“Make this go away,” I said to Les, “and you can have everything in it.”

“Yes ma’am,” Les said.

Les silhouette-2Then, in 2012, the last time it seemed that doom was truly at hand, I had Les move my Airstream over to my friend Marcy’s for safekeeping, which was a ninja drive detailed in my post “Interlude” and established Les as the Lord Of Fix-A-Flat.

Les and Katie on edge-2So I needed a consultation with Les, but how to contact a person with no phone, when one is disinclined to knock on the door of a property that says “STOP STAY OUT”? I stood outside his property and played “The Godfather” on the trumpet until his little dog Katie started barking and he emerged.

boat 1-2Les said he’d move the Vagabond, named his price for that, then asked for a retainer. I agreed and gave him all the cash I had, $18.

boat and watchers-2

So, I thought Les was going to start dismantling last week, but everything was the same when I arrived. We had another consultation. “I think you have some time, Miss Erika,” Les said. “It’s all set up like you like it. You still have power. Enjoy it, and I’ll move it when the time comes.”

vagabond side 12-14-2

But Les did think I should prepare. “You need to get some Ospho,” Les said.


“It comes in gallons at the hardware store. It turns iron oxide, which is rust, into iron phosphate, which is paintable. We used it on the boats in the Bering Sea.”

So I went to the True Value and got me some Ospho, and I did my Ospho chore on a beautiful day, then decided to crawl on my belly like a snake and get the inside of the wheels and the axles too, whereupon I did notice that the front trailer hitch featured a disintegrating rust that fell into my hair and compelled me to hit up my friends Marcy and Bob for a shower. Yet my spirits were not dampened. In Les We Trust!

vagabond wheels-2What a beautiful reprieve from preparing for doom. I slept in until 11:30 in the sunshine with a pal, listening to a frog serenade us from my swamp in the unseasonable warmth.

Hugo vertical in vagabond-2Hugo sleeping-2

Vagabond views

Vagabond views

vagabond interiors 2vagabond interiors3Then I decided to take a stroll down the street to see what was up with Stanley and Resha and check out In God We Trust in the 9.9 tide.

S&R watchers 1-2The watchfire was burning at Stanley and Resha’s, and a crowd had gathered.


S&R watchers 3-2S&R watchers 4-2S&R watchers 2-2One thing I noticed right away was that everyone was wearing these Dr.-Seussy hand-knit hats. How did Washaway Style Watch miss this important new trend? Your correspondent is asleep at the switch.

S&R watchers 8-2

S&R watchers 6-2Fortunately, I met Freddy, photographer, birdhouse maker and prolific knitter, who had a car full of these hats, and gave me one, so I could be as cool as the rest of the class.

S&R watchers 7-2

e and hatsI made a joke last week about In Log We Trust. Now it is true.

In log we trust 2-2In log we trust-2In log we trust detail-2In God we trust and ladder-2

In Log We Trust was being salvaged by Tom, of A-Frame fame, and another guy. The house was leaning sideways on the log over the churning sea, yet they were going up on the roof with chain saws to get into the attic.

Tom and chainsaw-2“What in the attic could possibly be worth it?” I said to Resha.

“The ADVENTURE!” Resha said.

cliff salvager-2I took a stroll to the end of our path to the beach with Resha. What was once a fairy-tale trail through the Elfin Grove was now, as Resha pointed out, 30 steps long. But there was no wind. Things were reasonably calm. We were standing by this sideways tree, then we moved further back, while singing a few bars of “I Felt the Earth Move Under My Feet”, and then the tree fell off the bank and left a huge hole where our feet had been.

tree chained to bank-2toppled chained tree-2

S&R beach chairs-2



Resha 2-2Resha 3-2It will make you younger-2



I asked Resha if she was experiencing the anxiety and dread. She said she got her grieving mostly over with two years ago, and was really trying to focus on savoring. She told me that my worrying might actually make things worse for me. “You need to be present and in the moment, so you can make good decisions when the time comes,” she told me.

sod clods-2silvery metal-2Craig’s outhouse was still standing. I decided to help myself to his abandoned multiple gallons of unopened drinking water.

2 outhouses

2 outhouses

Craig water-2A reader named Dianna commented on my last post. “That ‘ragtag compound of trailers, shacks and buildings’ is your sanctuary, that is why you and your various neighbors are there. It was cheap enough so the ‘everyday person’ could afford to buy it and live so close to the ocean. It is magical to be there, and the rush to the sea has long been one of woman-kind’s ways to heal the soul.”

grand estate 12-5-14-2Feeling healed, I headed back to Seattle, feeling like I had some time and that things would be handled when the time came. It did not seem like our Cold Moon wolf luck was about to run out.


About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at
This entry was posted in Tides-A-Com'n. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sanctuary

  1. Sharman Ballantine says:

    Thank you again for sharing your photography and writing. It is so tragic to see our coastline ripped from beneath your feet. Have watched this relentless erosion since I was young girl. The comments others have placed on Twitter make me furious! Everyone should see what is happening thru your talented eyes! Be safe, please. Mis that gray kitty yours? She reminds me of my Stormy who went to the Bridge in February. Stormy camped with me at Tokeland.

  2. MollyT says:

    I love your photos and the way your writing brings the people of Washaway Beach to life. I am glad you are able to let go of your little piece of paradise, because it is hard to see tragedy in what is really just Nature taking back what was always hers.

  3. Beautiful photos; wish I had been a part of this community even though it is being disbanded by nature.

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