Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Death In The Morning

Coos Bay, Oregon - 10 May, 2006

I'm writing at the Coos Bay public library. We wait for UPS to bring a replacement laptop. Up at dawn to clean, oil and tighten the motorcycle chain. The beach is 75 yards away just over the sand dunes.

I see and hear a red helicopter... whump! whump!... it's making slow passes along the surf line. There are emergency vehicles on the wide sand beach and an overturned small boat washed up on the beach. The same red helicopter was on the news for weeks after Katrina.

Yesterday I went fishing. The captain said the water was about 47 degrees F. The pounding cold surf breaks on the coast rocks and sand beaches with great force. I caught five black rockfish and we ate one for dinner with a cold very good Oregon Riesling wine and fresh spinach.

The helicopter pauses and comes very low to the ocean. It kicks up a great circle of spray. They winch down a rescue diver. I'm a certified rescue diver myself. Once I saved a two-year old from drowning. She's 18 now, very lovely, a daughter of friends. College on a volleyball scholarship in the fall.

The diver swims in with his burden. There are three bodies on the beach now. The helicopter runs search patterns for two more hours. There is no one left to tell him how many were in the capsized boat. The unused red life jackets float easily to shore.The  new laptop arrives at noon. It works for an hour and crashes hard with the blue screen of death.

Any day you wake up is truly a wonderful day. We are heading further up the coast. Hiking in the Washington Olympic National Park will be the turning point.

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