In Coos Bay, Oregon

Ron and Maggie come to Tugman park every year. Ron is an artist, and he comes to shoot reference photos and do work by the water’s edge. Maggie is a mom, and did she ever care for me. 🙂 I had wandered into the park to find some water, a charge for my phone, and hopefully a shower. I found all of these, and I found myself being entertained by Maggie, drawing her bird “Comet” and drinking her delicious OJ. Ron and I talked “shop”, and I watched as Maggie’s eyes glazed over regarding the discussion of this trend, that artist, or this technique. But, she beamed a big smile, happy that her husband had a person which could understand and relate to his predilection for all things art. We really did have a lovely time together as I sat and painted their bird. It wasn’t a great piece, but you wouldn’t have known it by their reaction, for they absolutely loved it. They sent me on with a full belly and a full heart.

Later I met a man walking down the road with only one sock, a fabric grocery bag, and an un-kept beard. His name was Jamie (pronounced Hi-mey), and he was from the Basque region of Spain. He had come to the US to attend a wilderness survival school in Washington, and that was what he was doing right now. He had been dropped in the dunes of the Oregon coast with nothing, and was navigating, tracking, surviving, and finding his way back to a prearranged destination. I was honored to walk with him to that point. Jamie and I talked about peace, love, and art. We talked about our survival instincts and choice. Beautifully he stated, “The difference between our reaction and our freedom is a split second of choice. As we begin exercising that choice— the gap grows, and soon it becomes inconceivable to react, but instead we choose to respond with compassion, for that is true freedom.”

Mike pulled off on the side of the road to talk to me. He was on his way to see his niece and decided to take the coast all the way. Finding me he offered me water and anything else he had. He couldn’t believe my journey, and desired nothing more than to take my picture.

After that I met a couple who were biking from Alaska to Patagonia. Being British, they found that their quest and their accents had opened many doors for them along the way. As we talked we were not at all surprised by our mutual agreement that people were good and that life is beautiful.