Sunday, September 22, 2013
The Edge of the West Coast
We stood at the edge of the West Coast, and while night had fallen over all of the rest of America, we were the last ones to see the sun.
I had gotten together with four friends from my growing up years, the first time we'd all been in the same place since all of us graduated from high school together. Now eighteen years have passed since that day, and we had a chance to look at our lives collectively, knowing that we have lived as many years over again as we had lived when we were first setting foot out into the world.
The dwindling of summer.
What I know is this...you share a deep connection with those who are the same generation as you, and you share a deeper connection still if those people grew up in the same place you did.
All the blessings, and disappointments, and struggles, the knowing that the there is still so much work to do. All the things that don't work out in life the way you thought they would. And all the things that did. I love my friends even more now in our thirties than I did when we were in our twenties. Our weathered hearts are wiser now. We stood where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean and watched the sun descend. Between the five of us, we have now lived in or seen all of America.
"I was...at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future."
And I know that friendships are not to be taken for granted, and I know that anytime you've been in a friendship for longer than a four hour Greyhound bus ride, eventually everyone has something to say "I'm sorry" for. And everyone should say, if they can, "I forgive you".
And our time on this earth is so short.
"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's goodbye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
To left of where we were standing - Youngs Bay turns into the Lewis and Clark River.
When my friends and I stood at this viewpoint, I thought about how much I had learned from each one of them. With some of them, our friendship goes back almost 25 years. I stood under this blue and yellow sky and realized that each one has taught me better how to love. I realized that all the soreness in my heart I was feeling the moment I took these pictures was the stretching and growing of it so it could become larger, more capable of believing anything is possible.
To the right of where we stood - a bridge that is part of Highway 101- the route the connects all the states of the West Coast....
"...in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the broken-down river pier watching the long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land than rolls in one unbelievable bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it...and tonight the stars'll be out...the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers...and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides...growing old..."
All quotes in bold from On The Road by Jack Kerouac
View from Astoria Column - Astoria, Oregon
(c) 2013 writing and photography by Chloe Koffas - all rights reserved