To: Friends and Family
For those who wanted to hear more about Netarts:
In this same spirit of egalitarianism, the beaches in Oregon belong to everyone.
Netarts is an unincorporated town with small neighborhoods scattered on either side of the highway. The town covers about 2.6 square miles at an elevation of 69 feet above sea level, although my house couldn’t be more than 30. There are370 households and 750 people, many of whom aren’t full-time residents.
My meanderings revealed a microcosm of egalitarianism with homes that included trailers at the Big Spruce trailer park, faded beach cottages like mine, a variety of upscale designer dwellings, and everything in between. For example, at the corner of Holly Heights Avenue and the main road is a ramshackle and overgrown turquoise house. Yesterday, my heart jumped at the sight of man in flannel sitting under the sagging porch roof with an arrow through his head. A closer look revealed it was a mannequin. Today, the fellow is sporting a green wool scarf and rakish fedora. At the top of Holly Heights hill is a row of upscale condos with oversized garages, a southerly view over Netarts Bay at the Pacific, and a beautifully manicured commons area.
Most of the towns I passed through on my way up the coast were tourist meccas. But even with its spectacular view of the sea and the pristine beaches, Netarts remains just a quiet town with ordinary people doing quiet ordinary things.
The air is so pure that when I walked past the deli this morning, the exhaust from an idling car made me nauseous. When a man all spiffy and fashionable in layers of fleece and Gortex came out of the deli juggling coffee and a muffin while speaking urgently on his cell phone and motioning to the woman in the car to open his door, I felt jarred by an alien energy. Instead of becoming more reflective, as planned, I feel myself, how shall I say it?—fading. Like an old beach house, beloved by several generations who always keep swearing they should come here more often.
This morning I was trying to decide if I’m going inward or dropping out. No conclusion. For now, there is only this place.
Simple as life here is, though, the place is not without irony—take, for instance, Happy Camp, a beach site for tourists that is also an officially designated tsunami hazard area. Barring the arrival of a hundred foot wave, there’s no way to convey the peace here where everything floats on the sound of the sea.
Following my walking tour, I stopped at the post office inside the Netarts Grocery for some stamps and to inquire about how I might receive mail since there’s no delivery on my street. The post office is a small beige room, more like a wide hallway, just past the ice cream freezers lining the front of the grocery. At the end of the wall of post office boxes is a Dutch door with a counter extending outward from the lower half. Lounging on the counter was Lugs, the resident cat, you will recall as President of the Netarts Chamber of Commerce.
|Lugs in front of the Sea Lion Motel|