“Let’s consult the oracle,” my friend Val said, whipping out her phone to look something up. This is not the time to stop seeking. Truth, answers, kindness, love, hope. I am looking for messages, and their messengers.

1-5-pointSo I decided to “Reach Out”, as the corporate phonies like to say, and ask the tribe: What are you doing to calm your mind?

fragmented-branches“I need a reset.” -Samantha

2-downward-facing-arrow“Headspace: Meditation Made Simple. ” -Brecca

3-fern-in-moss“Yeah, I don’t know, man.” -Miles

Flooding by Ocean Spray, 2/9

Flooding by Ocean Spray, 2/9

“Sudoku distracts my brain for at least a bit. Walking, and verbally naming everything you see in detail. You may look like a crazy person, but it helped me when I was at my worst. It helps separate mind from thought.” -Harmony

Sleeping Lady mountain, Leavenworth

Sleeping Lady mountain, Leavenworth

Icicles, Leavenworth

Icicles, Leavenworth

Leaves and ice, Washaway

Leaves and ice, Washaway

“Take walks. The O2 helps reduce anxiety. Xanax works for me too.” -Heidi

8-forest-bridge“Brain science says we literally can’t process it all. Pick one thing that both feeds you and feeds a part of the movement you are about.” -Rebecca

9-totem-and-blue-house“Today it’s comfort food: my favorite gf pesto pizza, a glass of wine, and strawberry ice cream for dessert, which I really only crave when stressed out. Other days it is deep breathing, cuddling with my cats, listening to energizing or more positive music, going to bed earlier, reading more, and talking to friends about it.” -Suzanne



“Hot tub and swimming. And sitting in my car listening to the music helps me. I love the cat. I’m sure he is helpful. And a good friend always helps.” -Connie



“Smoke some good marijuana. Maybe some Quaaludes!” -El Topo



“Bath bombs are the bomb!” -Janet

13-sunset-1-17“Don’t let the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast get to you. His spectacular implosion is inevitable and imminent.” -Sean

14-unstableAnd from Resha, my former Washaway neighbor, until we fell into the ocean: “Don’t neglect the basics you already know. They never change in their ability to calm and center even though the pressure mounts. Increase your trust in them to to do the job. Breathe, walk, music, holding and being held.”

15-sand-footprintsSo, it snowed in Seattle last week. This is a rare enough event to bring an otherwise resilient city to its knees. I thought I’d take the bus, to keep my car unwrecked for beach purposes. A nine mile trip took two hours.

16-snow-signAt work it was scenic, if messy.

17-snow-teardropI waited for a bus home for 25 minutes past its scheduled time. An older man in a brown puffy ski jacket said, “I’ve been waiting at least 40 minutes.” When he spoke, I could see that what few teeth he had appeared to be filed into points. “I’m walking,” I said.

18-snow-pacific-sunI set off at a brisk clip. A half hour or so later, at the precise moment I arrived, on foot, at 3rd and Pine, the #3 bus pulled up and the brown-jacketed man got off. We exchanged a vampire nod in passing.

19-snow-cattailsThe next day, there was an old woman wandering around the Space Needle grounds. In her impeccable flowered wool coat and style-not-warmth ribboned hat, she could slay at any Queen Mum lookalike contest.



She was pained that all of Seattle’s attractions open at eleven, having only half a day to do them all, before catching a flight back to Glasgow. “I have no problem approaching strange men,” she told me. “When you have grey hair you can do whatever you want.”

Declining fortunes of snowmen.

Declining fortunes of snowmen.

Dream: I’m on the light rail, and I have lost my shoes somewhere, but I am wearing, as always, a most excellent pair of Smartwool socks. A man hands me a tiny, naked baby girl and walks off into another car.

21-another-doomed-viewThe girl is missing an eye, and one of her cute as hell, miniature tiny feet has six toes. She starts to pee on me. Naturally, my foremost concern is my beautiful socks. I hold her at arm’s length. Eventually her Dad returns and I hand her off.

23-cobalt-night“My girl has one eye,” her Dad says.

“She is going to be sassy,” I say. “Always winking.”

24-giant-eI have a friend who has been both a lover and enemy, and, while forgiveness is not always my jam, humor helps.

25-ice-1He messaged me that “Space” Ace Frehley was coming to town to perform. (I was fully smitten with KISS by the age of ten. This suggests to me that if I was not born bad, I would at the very least “like to see it taken further”, as we used to say at art school.)

28-sky-waterI said that I thought makeup was probably a friend to Ace, that it was probably better to keep the mystery, after all these years, what with Time marching on.

27-tree-shadows“Mystery is a true cuddle-commodity against the internet’s static-cling blanket,” he replied.


About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at
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1 Response to Messengers

  1. reshasabre says:

    This morning I’m strangely moved and somewhat calmed by your perfectly obliquely-skewed observations.

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