December, remember?

Breathe deep, the gathering gloom, the swirling melancholy mists of malaise!

What the..? Oh, yeah, December.

Well, this grey is why we live in the Northwest! So there must be some other factors conspiring to make me sad. I have some conspiracy theories. Let’s let ’em rip!

Well, the news is so bad, and so sad, that it is reason enough. But it conjures up another falsehood, another bit of fake news, namely, Christmas.

Is your family the most awesome thing ever? How nice for you. For others, the drumbeat of “Family family family, fa la la la la la la la la” this time of year is as infuriating as a Salvation Army bell-ringer. I think of my Mom, a Christmas lover who always tried to make everything perfect, and, in the wake of her passing, the revelation of the train wrecks that are my closest relatives: narcissistic, damaged, toxic people, incapable of love.


I find it helpful to remember that my true family are people I chose, and to whom I am fiercely loyal. It certainly saves a lot of time, energy, effort, trouble, travel, and Christmas shopping.


But what else is wrong with December? We are quickly approaching the four year anniversary of the loss of my property, of all my neighbors, of a whole, special world that is gone. If it weren’t for pictures, I would wonder if everything was a dream.

The same week of the three big storms that washed everything away, December 8, my friend Regnor died. He was a master potter who grew up in Norway and spent his life on fishing boats. His father was lost at sea, and he told me he liked being on the water so he could spend time with his Dad. According to his theory, I decided to take a pottery class, to spend time with Regnor through working in clay. And, in a way, it worked. Some things are more real than photographs.

But, other than my retroactive grief and readiness to hibernate, let’s discuss a glimmer of would-be-hope, namely, rocks.

As I told you in my post, “Dynamics”, a local cranberry grower, who conveniently is also head of the Drainage District, with help from the Shoalwater tribe, got Washington state, for the first time ever, to put up $30,000+ to dump rocks along the shoreline. Dumping, then compacting, rocks of different sizes is called “Dynamic Revetment.” Bore your friends!

One nice thing is that the rocks are being dumped not just by the cranberry bogs and the highway, but in actual residential areas, like at the end of my old street, Blue Pacific. Will it work? Or will it be like dumping old cars in the ocean in the ’60s, with the same intent?

Of course, some traditional erosion-control techniques endure, though they have never worked. Tires, for example. Rope, for another.

And, the inspiration for all boulders is what I call the Rockpile Peninsula Project, which has held for years, albeit with constant, costly reinforements.Will it work? Part of me wants to be a hater, because it’s too late for me. But there are still some people whom it could help: my hosts, Marcy and Bob, who generously let me move my trailer to their property, so I can still go to the beach; Roberta and Dave, who are on their second Washaway house, as are my friends Ray and Juanita; and, most critically, Kenny, who is on the edge and thus, the strongest candidate for Willy B. Next. And lots of people who I’ve never met. So, in otherwise dark times, I am going to put my hopes for others on a big ol’ pile of rocks.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” as my Mom used to say.




About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at
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2 Responses to December, remember?

  1. says:

    Years ago we were on end of what was oak street, you checked and let us know that while section was gone. Was sad to see a few years later got place succumbed also. Like your updates.

  2. Trudy Jones says:

    So sorry for your loss. We too are getting closer to the edge!!!

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