A pleasant morning with Ann and David.
The house and gardens lend themselves to peaceful reflectiveness. An energy of calmness.
Outside morning tea, coffee and conversation with Ann.
Had a wonderful Palm of the Hand Memoir workshop in the afternoon. The weather was a bit rough, wind and pelting rain, but even still, 19 people turned out. Once again, most people were enthused and felt that this method was one that they could use to write about their life.
The people who attended were all very intriguing and interesting. Vashon Island, and this area in general, had attracted many alternative culture people a few decades back. Real estate prices were relatively cheap and this area was a draw to those who wanted to live a simple life in an absolutely gorgeous natural world setting.
The next few pictures are of a series of haiku signs that are set up on the approach to the ferry. Each one is a line of a haiku of mine that is now visible to everyone who drives onto the ferry.
These haiku signs have been posted on the road for nearly ten years, the haiku calligraphied by Wynn, who was one of the people I met at the house the evening before and who had attended the Palm of the Hand workshop. A good way to get poems out there into the public eye.
The reading in the evening was attended by 18 people who braved the pelting rain and strong winds. I felt it may have been the best reading I've given on the tour so far and a very appreciative response from the audience. There seemed to be a real connective, poetic energy that was coursing through the air.
Afterwards, Ann, David and I continued our conversation back at the house while eating salmon, bread, mango and sipping wine and beer.
I exited the house before dawn, needing to get to Newport, OR for a reading in the afternoon.
I was the first car in line for the 6:20 ferry that went from the south of Vashon Island to Tacoma.
From the bow of the ferry looking toward Tacoma.
Stopped for breakfast at Papa Ray's Diner in Centralia, WA. Had a nice talk with the wiatress, Jennilee. When I asked her one thing hat's interesting about Centralia she couldn't give me an answer, even though she has lived there her whole life (maybe mid-20s age.) She asked the three older guys there and the best answer was "It's not far to someplace else from here." Later Jennilee told me she thought of a nearby park that has historic connections to the first settlers in Centralia. So, she did come up with something.
A couple of pictures of the Pacific. A high surf and high wind
warning was in effect throughout the day.
It pretty much rained the whole five hour or so drive from Vashon Island to Newport. I had a reading at Cafe Mundo in the afternoon. The wind howled, the rain poured. But a dozen people attended, some who I met two years ago when I gave a reading at the library. We sat around at a table, eating, talking then I read for maybe a half hour. Once again, interesting creative people. It seems like the coast, at least at Vashon Island and here, has attracted such folks, some who have been around for decades.
I stayed at Carla Perry's house, a poet I met two years ago and who organized this reading for me. FootHills Publishing will be releasing a book of hers this coming winter and she's planning on a month-long train journey around the country to help promote the book. She'll be coming through New York State so I'll get the chance to set up a reading for her and she'll get to see Wheeler Hill.
So, today ends the halfway point of the Poems Across America Tour. Seven weeks down, seven to go. There has not been a moment on the journey that I've felt as if the time was going slow, that the journey was dragging. If anything, these seven weeks have passed much too quickly.
It has been an amazing journey so far, full of interesting people, fascinating places and responsive audiences. A journey combining the past and the present. Meeting old friends and returning to places I've been before. Making new friends and visiting new territory. There has not been one negative experience at all. And the old 1993 Honda Accord has performed admirably.
From here I travel down the coast on Tuesday, camping at Redwood National Park and then will have four days in the Bay area, staying with an old friend in Oakland.
Then the big shift as I turn back toward the east, working my way up and down the mid-rockies, southwest and then finally leave the west in mid-October for Kansas and points east.
All this lies in the past, yet I wonder
what adventures still lie ahead?
A day spent in Newport, the western terminus of US 20.
The rainy weather continued, with spurts of rain squalls, blue patches, more squalls, throughout the day.
Gary, who was at the reading and also in attendance when I read here two years ago, took me over to Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
Cormorants on rock at Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
Pacific not being very pacific.
A plaque near the shore.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
Was good to get out there, I had only seen it from a distance the other times I've been in Newport.
After the lighthouse we went over to his house, a street over from Carla's. There we spent a bit of time in his yurt, below the house and on a bluff above the ocean. We talked, drank tea and he read some William Stafford poems, all the while the sound of the ocean waves below and a distant view of the lighthouse.
Gary's reading room yurt.
Gary outside the yurt and the distant view.
Self portrait along the coast.
Late afternoon sunshine on water.
In the evening a friend of Carla's took us out to dinner to belatedly celebrate her 65th birthday. A wonderful dinner of assorted seafood dishes at Local Ocean Seafoods. The conversation and stories flowed as we ate oysters, tuna, rock fish and prawns. A perfect meal here on the far western shore of America.
With Carla. We didn't plan the coordinated clothes.