June 29, 1999
You talk about your life in the slow lane...I read an article recently about one Bob Sundown, 80-year-old jack-of-all trades who has been on the road in Arizona for 39 years, traveling down those way, way back and secondary roads in that magnificent state.
Most recently he's traveled by "covered wagon" with a team of four mules named Cody, Curly, Judy and Tammy, and his faithful dog, Skeeter. He camps at isolated ranches where he knows the ranchers and how to fix fences and windmills. As a young man, he covered the western states by horseback. The wagon and mules are a reluctant bowing to age. The author describes him as tall and solidly built, strong, and walking like a man far younger than his years.
I want to share in this entry some of the things he said in the article. I guess the wanderer and loner in me really took a liking to this portrait of a unique man. I like what he had to say. I admire his individuality, even though I can hardly conceive of someone embarking on such a life, so deprived of the comforts we take for granted, and yet so obviously rich in deeper ways.
Here is some of the wisdom of Sundown Bob:
"Life is real good if you kinda let other things bypass you. I don't worry about anything. I'm not even drawing Social Security. I'm just livin' on my own looks. People come by and give me groceries they don't need, and Claude will give me some hay for my livestock. I don't drink any hard liquor. I don't smoke cigarettes. People stop and visit me. Visitin' me is like going to an amusement park. They like to visit my chickens and donkeys, and Skeeter, of course.
Does the noise and spped of trucks and cars bother him?
"No," he said. "The nice thing is we can take this wonderful brain and control everything, so I can ride alone, and I just block everything out, but I can still see a mouse running by the side of the road, even lizards. A human has to slow down, and eventually you don't even know you're going slow....This is a good life, and I am happy. It's hard to explain. It just feels so good to go slow."
Later in that same magazine, there's a beautiful photograph of sycamores and cottonwood trees along the banks of Sycamore Creek. Little riffles of water rush over the rocks. The creek's about 20 feet wide. It's up high in the mountains, a world away from the hot desert below. I can imagine old Sundown Bob camped with his wagon along this very creek, after he's made about 30 miles for the day in his wagon. Skeeter is lying in a patch of sunlight on the ground. There's no sound of human civilization anywhere. It's just a wonderful place to hear the water of the creek and watch the day disappear into time, slowly, with little trace of its passing. Imagine living your days like that old man. I can't. Most others can't, either. But every now and then someone comes along who can, and couldn't live any other way. Imagine what stories he has to tell.
June 26, 1999
Darkness does not exist.
Love and hatred are friends.
The wind dances with you when you do not feel madness or hatred.
Each one hears the willow talking to him, saying,
"I do not have roots that dig into the ground,
I have roots that dig into happiness and love."
Nobody cares just for himself.
They care for themselves as brothers and sisters.
By an 8th grade student I taught, 1983.
The last year I taught at the small school I wrote about in the last entry was the 1982-83 academic year. That whole year seemed magical. A golden interlude in a life of fits and starts, a year to be amazed and stunned by the freshness, creativity and abundance of the life force those students surrounded me with.
Each day was fun. I taught them for two years, in two grades. I got to know them quite well, and they had sized me up pretty well, too. We liked what we saw in each other, for the most part. There were times when I got impatient with their endlessly varied teenage enthusiasms and early adolescent capriciousness. But as one said to me, quite unexpectedly near the close of a schoolday, "Mr.__, You know we're the light of your life."
I don't want to get mawkish, but those were wonderful days and wonderful kids. I felt I played a significant role in their growing knowledge of themselves and the world, through our study of literature and history.
I have a folder of various bits of memorabilia I especially wanted to save from that year, stuff you could really put in a scrapbook. Bits and pieces of this and that which remind me of certain events and days, and lessons, and particular students because it also contains examples of their writing, much of which startled me and filled me with wonder at the creative energy with which it was imbued.
They made me feel young. They taught me about life. I'll never forget them. And that folder of memorabilia, those treasures from long ago, set off cascades of associations and recollections whenever I look at them. I'm grateful.
The following essay never fails to make me smile. I haven't read it in awhile. It was published in the student literary anthology in 1983.
By an 8th grade student
I used to think my grandfather was someone who knew everthing. He would tell me stories of people and of his boyhood. He was someone with whom I spent a great deal of my time. He would keep me when my parents were at work or went off. He never turned down an offer to see me. We would go to the heaches to swim. We would go out to lunch and compete against each other to see who could eat the most. He would always beat me, of course.
If I ever called him up on the phone, he would pretend he had a video picture of me and say, "You're looking fine." I knew he didn't have one, and I asked him all kinds of questions.
If I had a problem, he knew it, and would talk to me about it. He always had answers to my questions. He knew how to cope with a problem. I guess he had the same problems when he was my age. Everything I got such as trophies and awards, I would give to him. He would tell me I earned them, so I should keep them. I would tell him if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have gotten them. He would laugh and take them to make me happy. I hoped that when I grew up, I would be just like him.
The only reason why I don't feel the same way about him now is that I have learned I can work out my own problems. I can think for myself. I still ask for his advice once in a while, but I don't look for him to solve my problems.
I still love him, and we spend a lot of time together. Some day I can tell my grandchildren about the stories he told me. I can give them advice and help them with their problems. I am very grateful to my grandfather.
Who is Smarter?
Pupil; I have a one-track mind, but it gets me where I want to go.
Teacher: One track runs into one rut.
Pupil: One track mind has no detours.
Teacher: No comment.
June 23, 1999
For one of the greatest pleasures in teaching comes from those hours when you feel that every word you say is being heard, not by a collection of bored and dutiful individuals, but instead by a group which you create and which in turn creates you; that, instead of repeating facts learnt by rote, to be telephoned through the drowsy air to half-deaf ears and garbled down in notebooks, you are both stirring minds to ask questions and answering them; that you are being driven by the energy of the young on the search for truth, and drawing therefrom the power to lead the search; and, in fact, that you and your words and the class which listens and thinks are all part of the ceaseless activity of human Reason...
The Art of Teaching,1950
I'm sitting here thinking of a summer long ago, the summer of 1980, to be exact, when I was sweating out the knowledge that in just a couple of months I would begin teaching English and history to 7th and 8th graders in a small, private school.
The job had come to me suddenly after I had innocently inquired about high school teaching jobs elsewhere. I was immediately asked by the school administrator if I'd like to teach 7th and 8th grade. Here was a career change confronting me quite immediately and directly, and I decided to go for it. I could work on my teacher certification while I taught by entering the M.Ed. program at the University of South Carolina. In the meantime, I could start teaching that August, and at a salary so miniscule that I knew from day one that I couldn't live on it. But I would manage. I was very excited. Here was a chance to do something I had always imagined what it would be like to do. Not that I ever dreamed of being an 8th grade teacher, or even aspired to be one during the earlier stages of my journalism career.
I remember what 8th grade had been like for me. Seventh grade had passed with the usual flourish of good grades and lack of friends. I got a solid grounding in grammar that year, and I never forget it.
The following year, I was in the first class at the brand-new junior high school that had opened about seven blocks from where I lived. A long, joyless, institutional, rectangular two-story building, it had a narrow hallway on each floor that was filled each time classes changed and was overcrowded from the day it opened. As the bell rang at the end of each class, those awful hallways were thronged by a mob of newly-emerged adolescents, noisily slamming shut lockers and yelling above the din as they hurried to their next class. I couldn't stand it. It was everything school architecture shouldn't be, and I knew it intuitively.
That was the year I took science that was definitely more "grown up" than what I'd been taught before, and which anticipated 9th grade with its labs and 10th grade with full-fledged biology. I had an English teacher who liked my writing well enough, but who otherwise was not too remarkable or fixed in my memory. I took Latin because it was what good, middle-class, college prep kids took who were expected to go into law or medicine or some other high-powered career. The baseball coach taught me U.S. history out of duty and to be teaching something. What can I say? That was a common practice. He was actually one of the competent ones.
But it was my science teacher who doted on me, thought I was special. And I guess she had some reason to single me out, in retrospect. I was a very serious student who made all the right moves: well-behaved to a fault, attentive, took notes diligently, etc. The teacher was somewhat flighty, a notable character at the school, I should say, and quite likeable. But she seemed to spend a good bit of time out of the classroom on administrative and other errands that probably should have been done after school hours. My memory may be incorrect, but it seems to me that we were unsupervised more than occasionally.
She was also prone to delegate authority, and this extended to grading papers. She gave short-answer quizzes and tests, and I was the "privileged" student she chose to grade all of them for her. I still can't believe I actually was called upon to do that. It must not have made me too popular with some in the class, but I don't recall anyone giving me a hard time about it.
But I didn't like 8th grade, and I didn't like 9th grade the following year. I was an awkward young teenager -- too serious and studious -- who thought the crowded junior high school building I walked to and from every day was organized bedlam at best.
So, there I was, 15 years later, preparing anxiously to step in front of a group of 12 to 14-year-olds and be a teacher, magically, all of a sudden. I hadn't had the first methods course in how to teach, but I had been an English major, so presumably I had the content aspect of the job under control.
I spent that whole summer reading, worrying, and preparing, trying to anticipate what it would be like, endlessly going over in my mind what I'd say that first day, that first week, that crucial testing period for any new teacher. I heard all kinds of stories, but I tried not to pay too much attention to them. I started taking education classes at the university, but mostly I was on my own.
It was thus fortuitous that I happened to find in a used bookstore a copy of Gilbert Highet's classic book on pedagogy, "The Art of Teaching." This is a very humane, reassuring book, written by a master teacher who was sharing his wisdom about an ancient and esteemed profession. I remember marking passages and re-reading them. And when I refresh my memory about that book today, I note that, above all, he said a teacher should be sincere and honest about his interests and goals for teaching, and that the open and straightforward youth before which I was to stand would be mercilessly intuitive in their assessment of my character and motivations, and that I'd better be sure I wasn't in any way pretending to be something or someone I wasn't.
That advice helped me considerably, as well as the grand paragraphs flowing with idealism and love of teaching. Know your subject and like kids, Highet advised, because if you don't they will find you out immediately, and it will be all over.
So when I had completed my first class and given that long-anticipated writing assignment, I rushed over at the close of the day to my best friends' house, and regaled them with all the minutest details of my day, how excited I was, how well it seemed to go, how I was determined to be tough and not put up with any inappropriate misbehavior, how there would be consequences if they interferred with the learning of others, and other such grandiloquent and somber pronouncements.
Fortunately, I don't think they ever knew how scared I was that first day, or how eager I was to be there, and how I was trying to control my enthusiasm and appear to be some kind of experienced teacher who was returning for yet another year. It was actually a while before they and their parents found out I was a "first-year" teacher.
That first year I had a tough and undisciplined 8th grade which had apparently had the run of the school the previous year along with their 8th grade peers, and who were prepared to wreak further havoc on that tiny school. Into that cauldron of boisterous youth I stepped with great trepidation, as I mentioned earlier. But there to be a mentor to me was a newly-returned veteran who taught math and science like a wizened pro and who stopped their mischievousnes in its tracks the first week. There was a whole new attitude that year, and I weathered the storm.
Over the following two years, I began to get fully into my stride, and I loved the job of teaching those kids intensely. I became quite attached to them. We took field trips, I ate lunch at the table in the cafeteria with them, joked and cut up; but they knew when I was serious.
I came home many days glowing with the knowledge that this was something I was meant to do, for however long it should last.
It turns out it wasn't for long, but it was enough to have changed my life forever. I can still look back on those days and know that I absolutely did the right thing in taking that job, and I feel good that my students benefitted from that fateful day when I asked about the possibility of teaching high school. Little did I imagine what a life-changing and remarkable journey of discovery lay ahead.
June 20, 1999
I've noticed when I'm driving on Folly Road going to the beach that there are two distinct kinds of motorcycle riders (I may be stereotyping a bit, but here goes, anyway). They come from two very different cycle worlds and cultures: The Hondas and the Harleys.
One is the youthful, limber, graceful kid on his Honda, attached to a quiet, fast and functional vehicle that takes him where he wants to go, wind buffeting his clothes on a hot summer afternoon, helmet hiding youthful features.
The others is an altogether different creature. He usually seems to fit the caricature of a denizen from the biker culture lagoon: middle-aged or older man, heavy-set, usually overweight, with long or medium beard, bandana around his helmet-less head. He is hunkered down on a loud, noxious machine that rips apart the normal traffic sounds in an assault of noise that makes me cover one of both of my ears.
Now these just-described bikers apparently have established a few colonies on Folly Beach, a place, as I've mentioned before, that has a wide variety of people who call the island home. You'd never find a Harley gang on the Isle of Palms. Nooooo!
So these bikers usually can be seen out on the road in twos, threes or more, sometimes a whole platoon of noisome, lane-bullying, wannabe road warriors, revving up their engines at stoplights, trying to be masters of their tiny little domains.
The kid on the Honda, by contrast, is a much more natural fit in this carefree, road-to-the-beach environment. I like the way he embodies a kind of freedom I've never known. For him, the motorcycle ride is a kind of lark. He is a free spirit. He doesn't view his cycle as some thundering symbol of machismo and road dominance.
Usually, he's by himself, or a friend is seated directly in back of him along for the ride. He doesn't travel in a pack, and he cuts a cool figure, face into the wind. Anonymous, he inhabits a world I would like to have experienced more of myself. I've always had the metal of a car surrounding me, except for the brief time I drove with the top down on my VW convertible, circa 1970-74.
A few times in the past I've ridden on the back of a motorcylce, and it was a great feeling. It was that sense of not being confined, of having to hold on as the pavement went by in a blur and there wasn't anything much between you and it. I liked the experience. But that was many years ago when I was a young man and could do that kind of thing. I could do it now, though. I'd like to. But how?
June 18, 1999
The 1980s were restless and tumultuous years for me. The early part of the decade was marked by stability: a teaching job I enjoyed very much for three years; a place to live that I loved so much that it was almost unbearable when I had to finally close the door for the last time and leave it; and regular contact with the closest friends I had ever had. Everything seemed to have fallen in place, and, in a kind of normal way, too.
By age 32 or 33 our society expects that adults have settled down and taken their place in the normal ebb and flow of careers, family, community. But with me there was one little, small major hitch. I didn't have a family except for myself, and, hence, when I knew I had to move on from the teaching job to try to make enough money to live on, I did what I've managed to do quite well since then. I made a terrible mistake about my next job, left it and, in the spring of 1984 began traveling. There were no obligations or family crises to endure, eg., wrenching leavetakings for kids and spouse or spousal decision to give up her job and begin again, too. Also, there were no settled family routines to upset such as having to see kids leave friends and a school they loved and within whose walls they felt some sense of security. No, there was none of that. It was just, get up and go.
The middle years of that decade were marked by temporary jobs and an abbreviated college journalism teaching career that came to a halt because I opted not to continue pursuing the Ph.D studies I was engaged in.
So, when I found myself back in New Orleans again in the the latter part of that decade, I was completely adrift, without any moorings and no job, but mercifully, I had a place to stay since my brother had a spare bedroom at the front of his house on Laurel Street. At one point in early 1990, I had completed my master's degree in journalism, and was more highly educated than I had ever been in my life, but I had no job and no prospects. And, there remained a period of some months, five to be exact, to live through until I managed to get a job editing a small newspaper back in South Carolina, the place I really had hoped to return to anyway.
But even though I didn't have a family other than myself to support, and even if I had enough meagre resources to get by on, and no rent to pay or car payment to make each month, I felt a gnawing sense of failure, of loss. I was exhausted by years of uncertainty after 1983. But that last period of unemployment at the end of the decade was perhaps the most difficult.
Toward the end of that period, and just before I got the job, I was very worried about my sanity. I had little small feelings or intuitions that the center could not continue to hold, so to speak. I remember going to the Jean Lafitte National Park one morning to hike a trail near some swampland in south Louisiana, and looking up at sunlight coming through the tops of the trees and being in this very peaceful and pleasant place, but feeling an emptiness so profound that it scared me mightily. Where was I going? How could I continue like this? What was I worth to myself or anybody else?
When I look back on that time, I realize there was one saving grace about the way those days proceeded, and it was something very simple that saved me. It was the very ordinary, very mundane and quite prosaic creation of a daily routine that kept me moving through the paces of a life somewhat worth living, although everyone around me seemed to be productively engaged in a job -- in short, a life, for lack of a better expression. I had very little communication with my father during this period, but I knew he was seething inwardly at this further evidence of his wayward son's demise. "Couldn't you get a part-time job, anything?"
While I waited, planned and hoped, I structured my life into a series of routines and regular excursions that got me out of the house and into the world of streetcars, people talking, traffic, and life pulsating around and among the streets and neighborhood where I lived.
Every morning around 7 I'd get up and walk about five blocks to Magazine Street and get two cinnamon rolls at McKenzie's Pastry Shop and the New York Times. When I had little enthusiasm for reading much of anything, that newspaper was my lifeline to the world, that and the daily local paper, The Times-Picayune. I'd spend a long time reading those papers. It kept my mind off other things. It gave me something to do first thing in the morning.
Later, almost invariably, I would get in my car and drive up Jefferson Avenue to St. Charles, and thence the short distance to Loyola University. I'd park on a side street and make my way to the library where I'd look at all the classified ads in the professional journals for my field, and then peruse other magazines or make photo-copies of articles. I could pass a good bit of productive time doing this. When I was working and busy I hardly ever used libraries, but when I was unemployed they became another one of those absolutely essential places I turned to for sanctuary. It was quiet, people were studying, I didn't appear to others to be out of work, and there was no feeling of judgment or condemnation, although inwardly I was castigating myself.
Afterwards, I might walk over to nearby Tulane University, but I didn't like their library quite as much. Or, I might head over to the bookstore at Loyola and browse for awhile, usually never buying anything because I didn't have any money.
In the afternoons that long winter and spring of 1990, I would either take a long walk along favorite streets or take my bike for a ride to the levee and stop alongside the Mississippi River where I'd sit awhile watching the ships go by on that river of my youthful dreams.
I can unequivocally say that without faithful adherence to those routines, I might have lapsed into some kind of hopeless spiral of depression and defeatism. The little bit of ego and self-esteem I had needed to be nurtured and propped up by, at the minimum, daily habits and comfortable rituals of everyday existance. Those routines reminded me that I was still capable of engaging life to a greater extent each day than I imagined when I work up to the morning and pondered the day ahead and life as it was during those exceedingly trying times.
June 16, 1999
There is a journal title that really intrigues me, yet at the same time perplexes me. The Daily Epiphany -- I wonder if it's really not a contradiction in terms. Could it be possible to experience an "epiphany" each day. Is it something we can consciously seek and find in the course of our everyday lives?
The dictionary defines "epiphany" as a "sudden, intuitive perception of an insight into reality or the essential meaning of something, often initiated by some simple, commonplace occurrence." How wonderful to contemplate that perhaps these sudden insights into the essential nature of reality are not that uncommon after all. Do we experience little epiphanies every day, but are not aware of them being anything special or extraordinary? What might these be?
And, they must be intuitive since we are not certain, empirically, that our perception is profound, or our discovery quantifiable or real, but we know on some other level that it is intensely real, that it is no fluke, no chance bit of flotsam and jetsam.
And then it is gone, like fleeting daydreams, feelings of contentment and joy, or clouds that drift overhead on hot summer days and reformulate into new shapes and images.
I think perhaps that if our enthusiasm for learning new things each day is lost, if we go through our days in a haze of just existing and not really looking at the world around us with fresh eyes, we will deny ourselves any chance of seeing into this essential nature of things -- for it is not as complex as we imagine.
June 15, 1999
This will be the final installment of my Pacific Northwest travelogue, including excerpts from my journal from 1984. But I am saving the best for last. I always tell people that if they visit the Seattle area, and if they can only go on one day-trip, then that trip should be to Mount Rainier National Park (http://www.patohara.com/1094-35.htm).
How can I describe that wondrous spectacle of a mountain, that even 100 miles away looms up in back of Seattle on clear days, drawing exclamations of wonder. It's almost an emblem of Seattle. Everyone there knows it's just behind the clouds on an overcast day. At 14,400 feet, it is the tallest mountain in Washington State, a still-active volcano with a history of recent activity that keeps people in the Northwest in a state of alert. Silent for now, peaceful and majestic, it could erupt and change the face of the sourrounding landsacpe quite dramatically.
I was drawn to the national park that surrounds the mountain irresistibly and almost as soon as I arrived in Seattle in 1984. My first, as well as subsequent visits there, left lasting impressions, and I think about that mountain often. It is an experience you never forget, that first ever confrontation with its sheer immensity as you get your initial close-up views of it on the road to the Paradise Visitor Center, driving up the winding highway from Longmire. Your excitement builds as you gain elevation, as you pass Christine Falls and the Nisqually River and glacier. Snow, even in May, is sometimes still packed 20-feet high along the plowed road that leads to the observation points and trails at Paradise. In summer the wildflowers are profuse, and I can say unequivocally, there is hardly a finer, grander place on earth to be. People who have traveled all over the world will agree with me on this.
The photographer Pat O'Hara has taken some of the best and most often published photos of Mount Rainier and the national park and I link here some of his pictures. Another gallery of photographs is located here (http://www.patohara.com/thumbs2.htm).
Here is a brief description in my travel journal, recorded after my first visit to the park:
From my travel journal, July 8, 1984, Seattle, Wash.:
Mount Rainier, the 14,000-foot massive, glacier-covered dormant volcano that is the centerpiece of a national park is also the dominant natural landmark of the Pacific Northwest. One hundred miles away in Seattle it can be clearly seen on late afternoons, bathed in the rose-tinted hues of a setting sun. It's presence is all-encompassing. You cannot fail to notice it.
From only a few miles away as I was yesterday, this utterly stupendous creation of molten rock and fire deep in the earth, covered now with hundreds of feet of snow and ice, emphatically seizes your imagination and your senses and reveals to the beholder a world upon whose summits the sun and clouds play. Rivers of milky-white and gray silt flow from its glaciers down to the lower elevations where they meet the rainforests.
Up high it is cool and the trees and flowers freshly scent the air. Mount Rainier, although immense and ever-present, contains as many subtle delights and surprises as you care to take the time to discover. Even behind a cover of clouds as in June when I first visited, the mountain merely waits in silence for the sun to scatter and disperse the gray and the mists so that it can be observed once again in its awesome clarity.
June 13, 1999
When you want to get away from the bustle of Seattle, you can head east toward the Cascade Mountains, Stevens Pass, and the dry, sunny regions of Wenatchee, Lake Chelan and surrounding areas. Or, you can go north toward Bellingham, Vancouver, B.C., or Mount Baker, or south for an unforgettable visit to Mount Rainier National park.
Then, there's another whole world to the west, across Puget Sound on the other side of the Kitsap Peninsula. That other spectacular realm of clouds, rainforests, glaciers, and mountains is found on the Olympic Peninsula, dominated by the huge national park of the same name. A circular drive along Highway 101 takes you to the many astonishing natural wonders to be found in this corner of Washington State, and not only that, but you have a nice ferry ride across the Sound to enjoy as well.
This is where I and my sister and her husband would head on weekends when we really wanted to get away from the city. I went there on a number of occasions in the mid-1980s, and have always wanted to go back. Some day before too long, I will. Here is an account of some visits in that area:
From my travel journal, May 27, 1984, La Push, Wash.:
The natural wonders that unfold all over the Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington are numerous and exquisite, subtle and grandiose.
The Hoh River Rain Forest in Olympic National Park can only be described as sublime. Words utterly fail to convey the spectacle of 200-foot tall Sitka Spruce trees and towering, big leaf maples overhung with moss and dripping moisture in this very wet western flank of the Olympic Mountains.
Red alder line the blue-green, glacially-fed Hoh River as it weaves its way among pebble and gravel bars in a winding course that leads to the Pacific. Along the Spruce Trail, mosses, ferns and lichens are abundant and cover the forest floor with many-hued greens, illuminated with delicate clarity in sunlight filtering through the overhead canopy of trees. A spring-fed creek flows silently over a bed of green plants growing in the stream. The water is crystal clear.
It seems as if every purely beautiful experience has some preceding hardship or difficulty to make the experience itself so much richer and more pleasurable. So it is with the hike up the grade to Marymere Falls in the northern Olympic foothills just below Crescent Lake. A long bridge crosses Falls Creek, and a trail ascends to a view of the creek which drops 90 feet to a small pool below. Near the base of the falls the air is cool and misty; above, the tiny stream makes no pretense of indecision as to its course. Not too far away Madison Creek offers a gift to the visitor who simply walks a few feet into woods off the road along the Elwha River and comes upon a beautiful little 40-foot cascade, rushing in a comfortable hug down the sharply-graded rock face. The creek reassembles in a narrow, rocky bed and continues on its way.
The Pacific coast at La Push is a kind of elemental dividing line between continent and ocean. Rocky cliffs come right down to the water's edge, and jagged reminders of the ancient shoreline stand off a ways in rugged formation. The water is green and cold, the beach strewn with smoothly worn rocks and pebbles of many shapes, sizes and colors. At La Push, the Quillayute River merges with the ocean after receiving slightly upstream the flows of the Sol Duc, Bogachiel, and Dickey rivers. Where river meets ocean, all of the cold, glacial water within ends it short journey. The tide here ebbs and flows with indifference to the river which becomes one with the Pacific.