Sunday, March 05, 2006

Southern Exposure: Tripping to Nirvana


Hitting a zen-like state can be achieved in several ways: sometimes you can get there there through challenging activities like surfing, where your mind is completely thought-free in the infinite moment, and sometimes you can get there through relaxation and meditation. Saturday, I was taken to a higher plane via the latter. After surfing at Otter Rock in wind blown (albeit powerful) conditions, I returned to the Salishan resort near Lincoln City where my wife was already enjoying a spa treatment. I was scheduled for a 4:30 massage, but I got there early, alowing for plenty of time to enjoy the facilities. The place is amazing. It reminded me of Ryoanji's rock garden in Kyoto, where nature, art and civilization all blend together seamlessly, except in this case you could sit in a bubbling hot tub outdoors and take it all in. The simple modern building (made of native lumber and slate) was situated on the edge of a bay where every window afforded visitors views of water, trees, and scattered rocks. There was a fireplace in the middle of a glassed "obervation room" where people wearing robes sipped tea and warmed their toes.

My massage was perfect. Sore shoulders were kneaded to putty and neck knots were squeezed to submission. Afterward, I took a long sauna followed by a cold "rain shower," then I went back outside and sat in the infinity-style jacuzzi again, alone. It was gettting dark as I watched the wind create rippled patterns on the bay. Moments later I would feel the same wind hit my face as it came on shore, a cool contast to the hot water. Contemplating the shape of an angular sea pine against the sky (which reminded me of an Utamaro woodcut) and the illuminated green bubbles circulating around me, I felt myself slipping into a near-unconscious state. I thought of how incapable words are to describe these things and tried to put myself in a place where there was no language, only senses. The bluish bubbles were simply a feeling and a relationship between light and matter. The air was actually more solid than empty, filled with energy and particles. I was tripping and it actually scared me a little. I felt like I was standing on a cliff in my mind and I carefully moved back away from it. I got out of the water, showered, and went back to our hotel room feeling completely refreshed and ready for dinner.

This was a significant day. It was the same day a year ago that my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. We only realized this fact as we drank rich Italian wine in our hotel room and readied ourselves for dinner. We needed this reprieve from our daily lives, especially on the anniversary of what had been the start of a very heavy year for both of us. A special thanks goes out to my brother and his wife, who gave us this weekend getaway for Christmas. Words cannot describe how significant this experience was for both of us.

Below are some pictures I took during my exploration around the Lincoln City/Newport area. Sorry I couldn't take snapshot in the spa, but I don't think the clientele would have appreciated it...

South of Lincoln City, skimmers in their swimmers. Brrr-ly.


Rip city at Otter Rock.


After taking a few closeouts over the head I wondered if this was a bad omen.


Shot from the point at Otter Rock.


The swell died a lot after I got out of the water (I swear).


A heart-shaped hole over a 20-foot drop.


The south swell touches down.


Secret spot with southern protection...


...and a sketchy entry and exit.


Two peaks working in two little bays. I'll never tell.


Red House Painters "Grace Cathedral"

7 comments:

Diane said...

Wonderful pictures! I too keep thinking how much better it is this year for you and May. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great post Fish, God bless you and yours.

Patch said...

Yes Chum, live in the moment and stay 'tranquilo'...

I hope your wife is doing better, I'll send a prayer your way.

pura vida.


Music — Federico Aubele — Esta Noche

Doc said...

Feel free to link to 'surf in oregon'...doc

do you mind if I do the same?

great words and pic btw...I was at Uncle Bob too...made for a rough tuz morn!

Chum said...

I'd be chuffed to get a link from you, Doc. And I don't mind you stealing my thunder with posts about actual barrels and lip-whacking! Nice art too...

Chum said...

Uncle Bob's - Took me a second, but now I get the name...

Amy said...

Thanks for the great post. We are so glad you both enjoyed it. Love you!