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Always running at someone's eel

Beach reading

This time it just sort of happened without my planning on it. A couple of weeks ago it occurred to me to ask for Friday the 15th off to give myself a nice four-day weekend, what with today being President's Day and a holiday. I didn't really have anything on my mind other than thinking it would be nice to have some time off. A few days after that I thought to myself, "Well, since you've got a four-day weekend, maybe you should go out to La Push again. There's no better place to get away from everything that demands your attention." Brilliant idea! I only made my reservations at the Quileute Oceanside Resort last weekend, and by then there was only one room in the motel available for the three nights I wanted. Hm. In the past I've always gone during the middle of the week, and there haven't been many other people around. Sounded like it was going to be a full house this time.


The worst aspect of this was the people in the room above me. I already knew from one past experience that the motel is poorly sound-proofed, so anybody overhead will be distractingly noisy as they walk about. (That's why last time I went out, I took a room on the second floor, despite the fact that it was more expensive.) Worse than the clomping feet, however, was the fact that the couple above me were vile, argumentative drunks who over the course of the day would reach a point where every conversation ended in a bellowing exchange of "fuck yous", mostly from the repulsive man, who I learned was named Mark. I never saw them, but I sure did hear them. Finally yesterday I remembered that Denys had given me a pair of earbuds for my phone, so I used music to drown the motherfuckers out. I had heard Mark say "blah blah blah" to the woman earlier when she told him to keep his voice down, so I loudly said the same at some point when he got going again. I think he was quieter after that. Dumbfuck. (And thank you, Denys!)


Other than that, I had my usual splendid time. I'd just been out there in November and hadn't really done any more research on further hikes to take, so my thought was that I'd just spend my time out there reading this time. So I brought a metric shitload of books with me, and a few fanzines too. But I also thought I could take the opportunity to visit Second Beach and Third Beach again, since they're relatively close to the resort. These little hikes ended up taking more time than I expected, because I had so much fun exploring the beaches. Second Beach in particular is vast, and I walked all the way to the far end this time, discovering more tidepools at that end. Third Beach I hadn't really seen much of on my first visit, because I got there at high tide in a steady rain and didn't stick around long. This time I made sure to consult a tide schedule and discovered a very nice little pocket beach with its own set of tidepools. The weather was sunny and warm that day, too, and I worked on my tan, or at least on my Vitamin D. I had hoped to avoid driving any more than necessary, but I did end up driving about an hour down to Kalaloch Lodge one afternoon to try the restaurant. The crab cakes and smoked salmon caesar salad with a glass of syrah and a lovely view of the setting sun were very nice indeed.


As for reading, I read a couple of C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry sword-and-sorcery stories. It has taken me all this time to really grasp that Moore started out as a Weird Tales writer, and her Northwest Smith and Jirel stories have a fair amount in common with H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard, but with a dreamlike quality all their own. The book I read the most of was Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise, which is a survey of 20th Century classical music. It's fascinating history, and I've already learned a lot from the first 200 pages, including a better sense of what atonality means. For a nightcap I would pull out the big book of surrealism I just picked up, called Surrealism: Genesis of a Revolution. I read the first section, which covers Surrealism's roots in the Dadaist movement. Again, fascinating history, and the book frequently overlapped with Ross' material on early 20th century music. All these earnest, arrogant young European men declaring the death of the old and the birth of the new.


It is just so damned peaceful out there, even with bellowing dumbfucks overhead. I got a massage on Thursday after work, and Maureen told me I was really tight. Probably because I've had some bad news about an expensive dental procedure I need that I won't go into here. Anyway, the massage started the unwinding process, and a couple of days of hiking, sunning myself, reading, listening to the pounding surf and staring at the horizon helped immeasurably. This was more a trip of small pleasures than ecstatic adventures, and thus I offer this series of pictures of small details, rather than grand landscapes, of which I also saw plenty. Hell, I could do a whole series of the pictures I took of the sky reflected in wet beaches. There is just so much awesome beauty out there. It's only four hours away from here, but it feels like another planet. There's plenty more to explore. As I walked down Third Beach, I saw a couple of guys with backpacks who had come in behind me, and they trailed down the beach after me until they suddenly set off up the hill near the end of the beach. Looking at maps later I saw that there are trails heading south of there, just as there are trails north to Neah Bay. I'm probably not going to hike all the way up and down the coast, but I could follow that one for a few miles into the forest to see what I could see ...



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2013 03:08 am (UTC)
Alex Ross's is an excellent book and will teach a lot. And to write as well as he would be an idealized dream. The only caution is that's a series of detailed portraits, and doesn't pretend to be a complete or even balanced survey of the field in its era.
Feb. 19th, 2013 03:11 am (UTC)
If you have any recommendations of other good books about 20th C classical, I'd be interested. Although this one will keep me occupied for a while ...
Feb. 19th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
If you want a really comprehensive wad, the 20th century volumes of Richard Taruskin's Oxford History of Western Music, though it's still not complete in coverage ...

Two other books I recommend are snapshot portraits of the state of music at the time of their publications, and very perceptive:
Music Ho! by Constant Lambert (1934)
All American Music by John Rockwell (1983)

All three of these books also provide a connection between modern classical music and the art music side of popular music.
Feb. 19th, 2013 04:54 am (UTC)
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Feb. 19th, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! As always I wished I had a few more days out there.
Feb. 19th, 2013 06:09 am (UTC)
Welcome back! Every time you go there, Julie says "we should go there!" and we might, during spring break. Or summer low tides... Especially now that you've mentioned tide pools.

It always sounds like such a great time.
Feb. 19th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
I don't know how these tide pools would compare to the exotic tide pools you two have visited. All I ever see are anemones and sea stars. Not that I spend a lot of time looking. But the settings are so spectacular that I think you'd enjoy it anyway. I love how the old growth forest grows right down the hillside to the beach, and the upper zone of the beach is a tangle of driftwood and old trees that are falling over off the hillside, pulled down by the excavation of the high tide.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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