When I write, I always have my headphones on, music blaring in my ears. It helps me to shut out the world so I can get lost in the one that I’m creating. I’ve had to alert friends and family members that if they want me to answer the door, they should text me first. Otherwise, I’ll never even hear them. I’ve had more than one person accuse me of purposely avoiding them by pretending I wasn’t home when they stopped by. That may or may not have been true…
Anyway, despite my best efforts to block out the reality of my surroundings, the headphones aren’t completely foolproof. That was made startlingly clear to me this afternoon. I have the window open, because the room I write in faces the sun and it heats up like a sauna throughout the course of the day. Very few residences have air conditioning where I live. I’m on the North Coast of Oregon, and not only is the need for it rare, but many of the residences are older, a good portion of them being from the Victorian era. In my community, the small homes were originally thrown together during the start of World War II to house the Navy recruits and their families. Air conditioning somehow didn’t make the list of perks.
So I’m clattering away on the keys, lost in the sci-fi world of a new series I’m writing, when boom! I about fell off my chair, my heart pounding. Another loud explosion sounded, and I was about to dive under the bed for cover when it hit me what was going on. Of course. The Fourth of July. If you’re not in the U.S., or somewhere that doesn’t get bombarded with firecrackers at specific times of the year, then you’re spared that delightful aspect of this holiday.
Hey, I’m all about making a lot of noise and annoying the neighbors, and much can be said for celebrating, the time off work for most people, and the other side benefits of holidays. But I’ve been so lost in my own world (and a recent, rather distasteful move to this new place), that it’s just now occurred to me that this summer thing won’t last for very long. But hasn’t it just technically begun? Right?
It’s gonna go by fast. I’m in one of those areas where the temperatures are on the cooler side year round. There was one summer about five years ago where I counted the days the sun could actually be seen during summertime, and it was four. Four whole days when the sun was visible. We’ve been pretty lucky so far this year, but all too soon, the rains will come back, then the rain storms, then the gale force winds to accompany the rain storms. On the plus side, it keeps the M-80 explosions to a minimum.
So head’s up. If you’re in a part of the world where now is the best time of the year to enjoy the outdoors, make it happen. I’m probably cheering myself on, because I do have a tendency to stay at my desk until cobwebs gather, but maybe some of you do the same thing.
I’m going to commit to at least one beach trip to Seaside, but I’m aiming for two. I will have to meticulously calculate when the rampage of tourists will be at the lowest, because otherwise, you know, parking. Walks along the river are very doable, because I can park at the Safeway. Yay! The sea lions are nearby too. They don’t need M-80s to annoy the fishermen, they do it just by piling on top of each other and blocking the pier.
There are also two large state parks that are forts from long ago when this area was settled, with endless trails through the woods along with a few that end at the shoreline of the Pacific. My favorite one is Fort Stevens, which was also active during WWII. Anyone see The Road, starring Viggo Mortenson? Remember the shipwreck when he sits on the beach toward the end? That’s the Peter Iredale that wrecked in 1906. Not much farther away is Saddle Mountain too, and I’ve heard it also has great trails to hike. Have I ever been there in the eight years I’ve lived on the coast? No. And that’s ridiculous.
So there’s my list. You guys have to hold me accountable. Because seriously? I’ll never leave this house otherwise. I mean, I appreciate that I love to write and that it’s what I want to spend the majority of my time doing, but I also don’t want to morph into one of those weird fish at the very bottom of the deepest ocean regions that’ve turned into some translucent white scary creature because they’ve never been exposed to any light. It’s imminent. I can feel it.
Make your own list guys! Tell me what you want to do. I’ll have a full report of my summertime accomplishments in September.