We are nearing the end of our second week in Gold Beach. We are here until at least the 19thof December, though we may extend our stay another month or two. The longest we’ve spent anywhere since we started this journey five months ago was three weeks in Questa, NM. We have always been ready to move after a week or less in most places we have been. I would think I would want to be in a place longer. There are so many beautiful places I’ve been, and in each one, I would have thought I could stay and explore for long periods of time, but in each, I was ready to go in usually about four days. But now that winter is settling in, it was time to get somewhere and stay a bit, to slow down with the season. And, of course, we chose a rainy spot for this first month, at least.
I like it though. I love the colors and the insulation of the trees. The sound of the rain on the roof and the sight of droplets sliding their way down the windows is hypnotic. It is a good time for turning ever more inward in contemplation and peaceful reverie. The campground we are in is a small one, nestled in the forest with a cast of fulltime characters. There are only six other campers here at the moment, and one tent (whose occupant is apparently living there full time with his dog). Everyone is friendly but keeps largely to themselves. Gail and I are not the youngest here…which, given our ages, might not be hard to believe. But at this time of year, you expect more retirees than not.
Next door to us, however, is a trailer that lives in that particular spot. There are three young people and a dog living in this trailer, which is backed up to a permanent deck and sits with a flat tire and a tarp draped over the deck to keep it dry. These kids keep to themselves like everyone else, but I hear them when they talk, sometimes. Not that they are loud. Not by a long shot. But they are close enough to overhear, especially when they are outside. They sound familiar, though I have no reason to think so. The way they speak, though, somehow brings about a comfort of familiarity. We’ve never exchanged words, except a brief conversation with the female half of the couple. Their interactions with the dog bring a smile to my face every time. I only glimpse the surface of this oddly familiar group, and I wonder at their story. I can’t help but wonder their story, more so than anyone else here. Both because of their proximity to us as our only close neighbors and because of their ages. What brings them here to the woods to live in a trailer? What fills their days? The guy who is not the other half of the couple never really seems to go anywhere. He pads out of the door a few times a day, mostly to take the pup outside, and then disappears back inside for a few hours. I am sure they wonder the same about us. Our habits look much the same, except that I take Gatsby out in my arms a few times a day when it isn’t raining. I keep wanting to say hello, break the ice, and discover their story, but so far there hasn’t been an opening. I’ll wait for it.
In town, it’s a different story. No opening needed. I cannot honestly think of a friendlier place I’ve ever been to. Going to the grocery store, or Ace Hardware, or even to the gas station, in Gold Beach is a hug that pulls you in and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. People greet you in openness and warmth. There is none of the superficial I must do this to get paid greetings. It’s more like people actually enjoy their lives, enjoy the people they intersect with each day, and really want to say hello and strike up a conversation. I’m a stranger to these people, but I never feel that way. Like the way I’m let in on the joke between the checker and the customer in front of me at the grocery store. It seems the way of it here for people to be genuinely happy and welcoming. Ifeel genuinely happy here. It is hard not to be with these surroundings. Even with the rain—and yesterday there was a rare thunderstorm—and the stormy seas, I can’t help but bask in the power and the beauty of nature. And when the skies clear, even for a short time, it is pure magic.
I am in this place for a bit. Perhaps even the winter. I am not ready to leave yet. I don’t think I will want to leave in two weeks, or six. It’s winter in a lot of the places I want to travel next, so, for now, I am content to bide my time here. I do not mind spending days in the RV with the cats and working on a writing project (more on that at a later date). I feel a thrill each time I wander towards the coast to take a break or to run errands. I wonder what that means for my writing here, in this space. Thus far, my musings have mostly been on hikes in the places I’ve been, or special occasions in special places. I’m here for a time, so where will that take my writing here? I can’t say I know now. It’ll be its own journey, I think. An adventure of a different sort. And not in just my writing, here, but also in life. I have the time here to become, for a bit, a part of this something beautiful here. A friend to this place and the people in it. Part of the heartbeat that makes it something special, and unexpected. It’ll be a new way of moving forward, even though I am now standing still.