PTO Day 6: Last night on the coast. Took the Woodford and a tumbler of rocks down to the beach for a last sunset. I went early so I could watch people filing down to the shore. Some get as close to the water as they can, as little as possible between them and the setting sun. If you’re the type to sort of owlishly notice that Friday means an influx of people, suddenly crowded sidewalks, and lines at the little grocery, the last few minutes of the day down there on the beach are a remedy: everyone is there to be in communion. “Nice show tonight,” says an old guy with a big camera. “It was alright,” I reply. Then the sun is just a warm glow under the horizon and people file back out, up on to the sidewalks, tugging their masks back up over their faces.

PTO Day 5: Small things at Hug Point

PTO Day Five: Hug Point morning walk

Between the tide and a front rolling in, Hug Point wasn’t super cooperative today.

PTO Day Three: Manzanita sunset

What did you see?

I don’t know. Something like this, but different. This is how I feel about it now, so this is what I’ll show you. I may change my mind tomorrow. Or this afternoon.

“If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations I am but dimly aware of this present.” — Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

Sitting in this well-lit room with the sound of the surf coming in from the balcony, it is easy to be here now.

One thing I miss about paratrooping: The moments where I had no choice but to be right where I was in time and space. The five seconds between stepping out the door and feeling the yank of the static line. The few moments I had to do the right thing when something went wrong. The exhilaration of running 75 pounds of gear and silk off the drop zone, wholly inside the animal. No thought about the choices that put me there, no next meal, no beer at the picnic table in the barracks. Just there.

Nostalgia for that is its own kind of dislocation. It’s a longing for the quiet up there in the sky between handing off the static line and stepping out the door and the five seconds before the next useful input about the situation at hand. It’s resistance to how things are here and now: The twisted risers, the feet of another jumper scrambling across your canopy, being put out over the trees. A faster fall because it’s raining and the silk got wet. Landing, but being taken aloft again by a strong gust, helpless just above the ground for a moment before being dropped, hard, seeing stars and tasting blood. Being dragged along rocks and dirt, holding wrist in hand to pull the canopy releases in case you broke something and haven’t felt it yet. Disorientation on a moonlit DZ.

Longing for a remembered state of perfect presence is to not be present with this imperfection.

Nothing to do but make another cup of tea, follow the sun out to the balcony. Turn back to my book. Be here, now.

PTO Day Two: Evening Beach Walk

PTO Day Two: Morning Beach Walk

PTO Day One

Springwater/Foster Floodplain Walk

4th

Out and about

Sunday

Lensbaby on the Springwater

Evening walk

Here and there

Here and there

Sunday

Around the Springwater at dusk

… and this is the one in the mental catalogue under “too good for you,” so it’s going to get a lot of my time.

In my mental catalogue, this one was The Last-Mile Commuter. Now it’s just “pretend you’re taking corners downtown on this thing.”

Open enough

Evening walk

Skate kids