Scraping the Sky

There are no road trip realities today. There is only gratitude. One: that I researched from four library books and knew to get online in the first few days of January in order to reserve this spot. Two: that my girls, after two weeks of hiking and biking, didn’t bicker a single time on the 5.6-mile Boy Scout Tree Trail. Three: that we have this beach, this mostly-empty, questionably-warm, Northern California beach, to end our road trip with swimming and joy. Four: that we live in America, and there is still hope for us to preserve these spaces, these natural landscapes, that are the core of who we are.

It is too perfect. We met a family on the trail pulling a trailer and trekking from St. Paul. “No one in Minnesota does things like this.”

I hear it often. “You’re doing what? And for HOW LONG?”

It’s only 4000 miles this year. CHILL. Because along the road, the curving, yellow-belted, picking-blueberries-in-Oregon road, we’ve seen a million views of what the world looks like. Of how tall trees can grow, of how far states will go to preserve this beauty (not a single plastic bag in three states), of how quiet and loud and loving humanity can be.

Tony’s Crab Shack in Brandon where my daughters were praised (and probably ignited an idea) for ordering both a whole crab AND the kids’ mac and cheese, ONLY because they wanted to put crab meat in their macaroni. The fruit seller in Pike Place Market who spent three summers as a counselor at a camp on Orcas Island, and praised me for securing a campsite in Moran State Park (another early January reservation). The Californians chatting on the river beach about every little hope (“Spicer quit today!”) that they can muster from “this administration.” My gay cousin in Portland who’s never had a houseguest in eight years, even his parents, and showed me all the best breweries in town, the best food, the best bookstore, the best way to navigate (by bicycle) the Willamette (pronounced Will-AM-it, Damnit!) Loop.

What would you see if you had three daughters and ten doses of courage? If you knew you could climb those switchbacks, camp without fear, and trust the world?

These are some of many sights. Breathe in the Pacific, listen to the breeze among the trees, and pretend, for a moment, you could live the best life.

Trust me. The Earth had skyscrapers long before Man thought to build one.