The Green Land

A western gull (I think) perches on a large boulder in front of a moss-covered cliff on the beach at Heceta Head on the Oregon coast

A western gull (I think) perches on a large boulder in front of a moss-covered cliff on the beach at Heceta Head on the Oregon coast. A stream was flowing between us, emptying into the Pacific just to my right. The rich greens of western Oregon were something to behold, I miss seeing moss growing on the rocks, on the trees, in the grass. I don’t miss seeing it growing on the roof, on the steps, on the car …

Preen Before Green

An American crow pauses while preening before moss-covered rocks at Heceta Head on the Oregon coast

An American crow pauses while preening before moss-covered rocks on the beach at Heceta Head on the Oregon coast. It’s a bit bittersweet looking back at the pictures I took a year ago on this wonderful trip as it turned out to be my last visit to the coast, a few weeks later my team got laid off and the wheels were set in motion that led us from Oregon. Someday I’d love to go back, the Oregon coast is so wonderful even I’d consider getting on a plane to visit, but for now my interest is in exploring my new home.

Earth Imitates Life

Large rocks stretch to the sky at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park

These large rocks at Rialto Beach in Washington’s Olympic National Park reminded me of goose barnacles stretching to the sky. There are tide pools by the rocks if you’d prefer life to its imitation. There’s a gull enjoying this lovely spring morning as well as I always like to sneak a little wildlife into my landscape pictures when I can. Shown below are actual goose barnacles (also known as gooseneck barnacles) from Enderts Beach in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in California. Their stalk is said to resemble the necks of geese and according to Wikipedia, goose barnacles and the barnacle goose were named after each other, as the goose was suspected of growing from the barnacle.

Goose barnacles crowd together in a tide pool

The Ascent of Ruby Beach

Smooth rocks leave patterns in the sand after waves flow around them

Rocks worn smooth by the motion of the ocean make the climb up Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park to join the many others on the rocky beach, leaving patterns in the sand after the waves flow around them. Or maybe, after days of heavy rain, they were taking advantage of the sunshine to head down to the ocean for a refreshing swim in the Pacific.

Revenge of the Crabs

The shell of a red rock crab floats in a tidepool

I came across this red rock crab floundering in a tide pool, struggling to emerge from under the rocks and climb onto the beach but the incoming tide washing it back down. Clearly a zombie crab, but still I took pity on it and decided to help it, despite its gaping maw and triangular teeth.

“Need some help there little one?”

“Yes! About time! How long were you going to watch me struggle?”

“Promise you won’t eat my brains?”

“Just help me up!”

“I’m not going to help you if you’re going to eat my brains. And you don’t have to be so, ah, …”

“What? I don’t have to be so what?”


“Crabby? Were you going to say crabby?”

“No. Well, maybe. Yes.”

“For millions and millions of years my kind has ruled the border between land and sea, and from that border down to the depths of the deepest oceans. And in our new more fearsome form so too will we now rule the land!”

“Oh no!”

“Now you show me the respect I deserve!”

“No, I meant ‘oh no’ as in ‘oh no, the gulls have spotted you’.”

“What? Quick! Get me out of here! Help! Help!”

“Promise you won’t eat my brains!”

“We do as we must!”

“Well then, it was nice meeting you, but I’m going to keep walking down the beach. Goodbye, and good luck.”

“Help me! Help me! Don’t walk away! Maybe I’ll only nibble!”

If it said anything more I couldn’t hear it above the cries of the gulls as they closed in. If you weren’t eaten by a zombie today, say a little thank you to the gulls, they are our defenders.

I did stop to photograph this dead crab because its scattered parts reminded me of a monster climbing from under the earth, but we’re looking at the back of the crab, not its front. The large hole is where its abdomen would have been, and the teeth are bits of soft flesh left behind by scavengers (they didn’t leave much). While only one leg was still attached with the others discarded nearby, one was close enough, and angled well enough, that it seemed as though it was an extremely long arm emerging from the stones of the beach. The eyes are just a depression on the shell but if I stood at the right angle they looked like eye sockets.