Tuesday, December 27, 2011

...the savage beauty of this area in winter...
Although Shore Acres State Park isn't far from where I live, I don't visit often. It costs $5.00 to visit the place, unless you access one of the coastal trails that link it to other parks in this area. Otherwise you've gotta place the receipt on your dashboard where a dutiful Park Employee will make sure you've paid your fee. But I make sure to visit every year on Christmas Eve. I get there before sunset to do some serious wave-watching, and once Mr. Sun sinks over the horizon, it's time to go and see a Christmas Lights display. More about that later. Continuing, one of the most vexing things about Wave-watching is that it's difficult to time the wave so you can catch the giant sprays they leave in their wake. But I try.
I'd been out trying to get a Wave Picture. I'd focus the camera on an incoming wave, and it would turn out to be a Dud. Very little, if any splash. Well, it was close to low-tide, I'd met with little success and began my walk back to the main park area when, all of a sudden, I heard "BOOM"! I whipped around instantly and took this picture of a monster wave which wanted its presence to be duly noted. Ocean waves are menacing yet fragile. They're huge, and they disintegrate in an instant. Sometimes when you stop looking, they find you. There's probably some sort of lesson in there somewhere. I liken winter wave-watching to a really great Fireworks show. You never really know how huge or how loud the fireworks will be. Then, "POW!" the lights emerge into a huge yet delicate pattern, disappearing almost immediately.                                                                                                                                               
On the way back to the main area of Shore Acres, there are ample opportunities to catch the sunset with the camera of your choice. (Mine's a Canon "Powershot", a fairly basic model, which is good, because my camera skills are basic. No frills. In this picture you can see three outcroppings extending into the ocean. For some reason, the strata you see in the cliffs are at a 40-degree angle, which probably has something to do with land masses and plate behavior. I'm no geologist, though, as you can no doubt tell. Still, the view is fascinating. Due to a bank of clouds on the horizon, the Sun disappeared from view 5 or 10 minutes early, and once it was gone, the temperature dropped faster than anything seen lately in the Stock Market. (See? I do pay attention to the news. What, do you think I take Pictures All The Time?) Okay, now that I've alienated readers who suffer through this blog, time for a Christmas Lights celebration...
Imagine thousands upon thousands of Christmas Lights all over the place, and chances are you'll imagine something like this. This is the botanical garden at Shore Acres State Park. (If you click on the photo, it'll get really big.) It's impossible to enumerate a lot of them here, but you can get an idea of what's done here each year, at least in sheer numbers of lights needed to complete this gargantuan lights display. Not only are there lit Christmas Trees all  over the place, but you'll see lights strung up in the shape of a whale, or a seal or penguin or seagull or pelican...you get the idea. There's a pond in the middle of it all, and to say this display is merely 'huge' is a classic understatement. And, at the end of your stroll, you can stop at the Gardener's Cottage, which is also lit, and dine on chocolate-chip cookies and a glass of Hot Apple Cider. The park is open the entire month of December. And this time of year, it becomes a wond'rous place indeed.
I have more pictures of this huge light show on www.webshots.com, username digitaldave.72. Shore Acres is right on the coast, about 6 miles south of Coos Bay. Now that Christmas has been here and gone, I can now wish everyone "Happy Holidays!" Have a great 2012. Hmmm...2012...I guess I've gotta get used to typing that... 


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