“But even inside his hermetically sealed office, he could feel the wild call of the spring night. He could hear the scratching at his heart’s door of a dog that needed to be walked.”    -Jay McInerney, Brightness Falls

You would think that, by now, I would’ve figured out that worrying does not change the outcome.

I can’t stop the carnival ride gone mad, so what I’ve been doing is limiting my exposure. I am on a strict diet with the screens. Bill Moyers tells me the eight to ten things I need to worry about every morning. That’s enough to last all day.

My new job is to be the drug dealer of my own joy, and it’s no slacker gig, believe me.

At night, instead of falling into the abyss with my phone, I read fiction and pet my cat. Exciting stuff, I know. I feel like I have all kinds of time now.

I listen to music that lifts me up: jazz, soul, funk. True American greatness. Hymns of genius, composed during times of ignorance and its resistance. Patti La Belle’s cover of Cat Stevens’ “Moonshadow”, with its five-part gospel harmonies, tore through my heart like a hurricane. “If I ever lose my eyes, I won’t have to cry no more.”

Coastal flooding

It’s 7 p.m. and I throw open the door of the Airstream after monsoon rains all day to listen. For once I am paying attention. How do I keep forgetting this? The songs of countless frogs in the swamps reveal, in their chorus, the hopefulness of Spring.

I go to the beach so I can be the Supervisor of my own joy. Unfortunately, as we’ve discovered, Supervisors can be kind of lame. And the drive back home through nasty Tacoma traffic has its own power…what is that drug that makes you forget everything you just experienced?

It is so very boring to dumb oneself down all the time. Like women, like weeds, like wildness itself, you stomp the spirit down here and it blossoms over there.

I take an illicit joy in our corporate Garden being pillaged by rats, squirrels and bunnies, while overpaid, underworked middle managers ask, “How much money does it take to smack down the natural world?”

Weed it, or let Nature do it?

“LOLOLOL,” says Nature, and Her amused Team snickers along silently, yet with a funky groove.

But you, meanwhile, are here because you are interested in Doom, and in this regard, though I hate to disappoint you, I am pleased that it has been a Slow News Day kind of year.

The one voted Most Likely To Fall Into The Ocean, my former con-man-neighbor, Tweaker Tom, is still hanging in there, while being neither here nor there.

Les Strange is hanging in there too, due, no doubt, to his elaborate Bering Sea tie-downs.

My joy broke into an unscheduled percussion solo when I saw that Les Strange had built a gangplank featuring my old wicker couch from my beloved, departed Vagabond trailer.

Yet sometimes it is worth telling the artist their work is great, and sometimes you just have to hope they know it for themselves, true as a heartbeat.

Bear hugging tiny animals


Rumor has no place in news.

Return of Razor Clams

For Rent

Long ago, a friend told me that when he was a kid, growing up in Canada, at canoe camp they would pretend to be Indians, the First Nations, paddling silently in the darkness.

Sometimes, when I had my beautiful woodsy path to the beach, near my now-vanished property, we would drunkenly play “Indian Guide”, moving silently through the forest at dusk, striking the ground with our heels in the darkness, so as not to trip over the tree roots, or make a sound.

Now, more than ever, I am convinced that it is this very quietness that will ensure our survival.




About washybeach

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

  1. Michaele Freund says:

    Erika, THANK YOU for this update. We’ve followed you for over a decade. Your writing skills keep you in our thoughts. You are an amazing scribe. We also grieve every foot of loss. We miss your property. And the Vagabond. We drive the miles during winter to witness, but summers we are in Westport. We are a fisher family. It’s our second “home”. Please continue to share how you are evolving. Michaele (and Bill) Freund 💕

  2. Resha Sabre says:

    Lovely, just lovely! Your posts from our previous existence keep the water in my cells, here in the desert. My heart actually took a leap of joy in possible recognition of that sandpoint-mussels image. An old friend.

  3. Nancy says:

    I enjoyed my tour of Washaway through your well chosen photos! I loved the colors and turns and twists of nature and, of course, your captions!

  4. patricepb says:

    Summer approaches. I feel I must hurry to visit Washaway in Spring… That time of reawakening… When Mother earth stretches out her arms and stands. With a stomp of her feet, a signal to all of her underlings… Wake up! Wake up now. Frogs – sing! Birds -tweet! Flowers – bloom! Earth – spin with jubilation; new energy and new life is here! Summer is nice… Spring is a blessing from God.
    Thank you Erica… YOU have inspired me once again. I really do think I must meet you before this “beach season” is over! Somewhere round a campfire? With Les maybe? I missed my first opportunity to campfire with him; damn the need to thinkabout safety 1st! But now I’m “at that age” where I must be much more in the habit of going there first. I can no longer outrun… well, anyone – EVER! I think maybe I should receive a second chance? He reminds me of my brother who passed away tragically at 29 years old. Kevin and I were kindred spirits. If he had lived to be 59, in my imagination, he and I together, would go to Big Sur just to campfire 💖 and sing along to Jimmy Buffet, Harry Chapin, Moody Blues. That is the era where my memories of Kevin end.
    I wonder, at ten years younger, when I could have… WOULD have thrown caution to the wind, would I have found
    a kindred spirit in Les? I would love that second chance to happen while it can. Do you know anyone who may be able to help me with that?

  5. VICKI L KNUTSON says:

    Erika, So glad we can share our piece of Washaway with you from time to time. I enjoy seeing photos of “our forest” too. If you are going to be there this weekend, come by and meet more of the family!
    Bruce & Vicki

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