Inventory

I’ve had landscaping jobs where we kept track of the stuff we used, to bill the client later. Soil, fertilizers, plants. Now I work in the same place every day and there is no one to bill, so I keep track of what’s still there, while noting what’s gone.

Lately, in my life, I’ve been doing a little of both.

beach through branchesYou can probably guess where I went for my birthday. It’s been the same story for the last 22 years. And birthdays are a time for inventory. What’s been lost, and what remains?

Wealth.

Wealth.

In the past six years, there have been major losses. My Mom. My Grammy. A relationship that lasted ten years and a house full of stuff, gone. A beach property I cherished for twelve years, trailers, trees, and more stuff, gone. The best job I ever had, that raised me and taught me invaluable life lessons, closed down, gone. My friend Regnor, the most playfully disciplined artist I’ve ever met, gone. Holes blown in the world. Now all that’s left are memories and pictures. I can conjure these apparitions up until they haunt me, but they are not available for comment. Which is too bad, as I have some questions for everyone.

silvery runnersWhat terrible, hateful, stressful times, right now. The old problem of being an artist and feeling things. The horror of that nightclub, young and out dancing on a hot summer night. I try various breathing techniques. Smell the flowers, blow out the candles. I try not to click on stories about majestic gorillas and jaguars getting senselessly shot, never mind the unending stream of people. I break out in tiny, painless maroon constellations of bruises, my spots, sympathy for the big cats. I hold a smaller one close and try to breathe.

Hugo w- mouth open KnutsensBut the beach rewards, surely as it robs. I was able to spend my birthday at Washaway in the beautiful cabin of some friends.

fallen shadesThere, I did everything I wanted. I went for walks in the enchanted forest, recharging the Wood Nymph batteries, or, if you will, “Forest Bathing” or Shinrin-Yoku. This is a Japanese movement from the ’80s that is said to “engage the senses, maximizing health benefits and being present. Mindfulness is open to all.”

wood nymph rechargetrail and bridgefiddleheadsmossynessferns in forestI walked on the beach  in beautiful sunshine and enjoyed the territorial views of the Fort.

fort 1fort 2fort loungefeet, fortIs it wrong to rejoice? Inventory-wise, this is the best of times. I still have my magnificent Hugo, my love Todd, my sweet Dad. The dead would want us to savor things, right? To be Washaway about things? That’s what I think when I drink green tea from the rim of a perfect ceramic mug Regnor made for me on a beautiful morning. Or maybe they don’t want anything, but I like to think they’re kicking around, wishing I wouldn’t preoccupy myself with things I can’t change.

red arrow on tree

Erosion control techniques (Les)

Erosion control techniques (Les)

wheelsxmas lightsroof and siding

Spruce and Whipple streets

Spruce and Whipple streets

Tamerack Tweaker House

Tamerack Tweaker House

So there I was, taking inventory on a birthday stroll, and I came upon what appeared to be some massive buzzards, which didn’t seem like a good omen, but then upon closer inspection, they looked like first-year eagles, which is lucky. Birds of prey, like art, are so subjective.eagle 2eagle 1eagle and sideways treeThe only certain thing is uncertainty. What will happen to my Seattle? As my friend Evan put it, “we lost the war.” Like Washaway, it is not if, but when. And the only thing to do is to try to create beauty in uncertain times.

 http://www.youtube.com

Like an old car, there is maintenance that must be done. So it came to pass that I found myself at the dentist getting my first crown, that I might rule as your Queen. I switched to a fabulous new woman dentist in Burien who has TVs on the ceiling. Here are the things I learned while on nitrous at the dentist, watching Cartoon Network:

“Just because you’re scared doesn’t mean you’re not brave.”

silvery water“All new Ninjas, including the feared Gardener Pirate Ninja!” (with watering can)

e shadow 1“It’s magical destiny practice.”

e shadow 2“You don’t need any special powers to be my friend.”

fire“No time to play with dolphins, I’ve got a race to win!”

sand point and mussels 2“That’s not corn, Chicken! That’s gold.”

mussels detail

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About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at www.erikalangley.com.
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10 Responses to Inventory

  1. Kris Oneto says:

    I have so enjoyed the journey of Washaway Beach through you. These pictures and your thoughts are amazing. Thank you for sharing…..😀

  2. Liz Phraner says:

    Oh wow is Les still hanging on, I need to get down there, even washed away it fills my heart.

  3. Dianna says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! You were right about the Turkey Vulture…that’s the one with the red head. I really look forward to your continuing saga out here on the coast.

  4. Michaele Freund says:

    We’ve never had you out of our minds, and always wished for the best possible outcomes for you. We have visited constantly for decades, to Whipple, and your side road… Pacific. Year round.

    We have valued your writing skills, and incredible photography. And most of all, your philosophy of what was happening to Washaway. That history was before you. But you made it real in current decades. Thanks for sticking around, helping the rest of us who mourn the loss, and keeping the memories. And still keeping the watch. Good to know you’re okay.

    Michaele (and Bill) Freund 💓

  5. Norma Langley says:

    I remember your birthday as a group affair, coinciding with what? Pat’s birthday? Parents anniversary? Always a holiday whenever you and the family were together. You are affirming life as if moves past our generation. Norma

  6. Lynne Pickens says:

    Just read some of Riverwalking by Kathleen Dean Moore. The two of you write with similar themes and styles.

    From: Washawaybeach This Week To: lynne_pickens@yahoo.com Sent: Friday, July 1, 2016 4:15 PM Subject: [New post] Inventory #yiv6784606861 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6784606861 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6784606861 WordPress.com | washybeach posted: “I’ve had landscaping jobs where we kept track of the stuff we used, to bill the client later. Soil, fertilizers, plants. Now I work in the same place every day and there is no one to bill, so I keep track of what’s still there, while noting what’s gone.” | |

  7. Lynne Pickens says:

    oh, another book that reminds me of you:   Yesterday I ignored the Holiday and decamped to my couch, reading all 358 pages of The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni.  It’s a novel starring a reclusive nature photographer who spends a year on the treacherous Farallon Islands with a group of hardcore biologists.  She’s still trying to get over her mother’s death (a freak accident occcuring when the narrator was a child) and obsessively writes to her dead mother, posting her letters in whatever corner of the world her photography takes her. Her year on the islands is punctuated by accidental death, murder, rape, etc.  And I’m just referring to the biologists-not to mention the sea lions, sharks, birds, etc.   

    From: Washawaybeach This Week To: lynne_pickens@yahoo.com Sent: Friday, July 1, 2016 4:15 PM Subject: [New post] Inventory #yiv6784606861 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6784606861 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6784606861 a.yiv6784606861primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6784606861 WordPress.com | washybeach posted: “I’ve had landscaping jobs where we kept track of the stuff we used, to bill the client later. Soil, fertilizers, plants. Now I work in the same place every day and there is no one to bill, so I keep track of what’s still there, while noting what’s gone.” | |

  8. spdychevy says:

    Thank you for for sharing your beautiful ruminations. Some will always wonder and some will always wander, looking for the poetry in life not realizing it’s all poetry but that not all poetry is beautiful. That’s the true beauty of it.

  9. Jamgochian says:

    I really love this post Erika. Thank you.

  10. 71husky says:

    I so enjoy your words, thoughts and pictures.  Memories being washed clean or washed into the sea describes aging for me.Sent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App

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