Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Astoria

The far northwestern corner of Oregon, two hours from anywhere...



...where the Columbia finally meets the sea.







I wanted to take a photo of the Goonies house, but unfortunately it was off a single gravel lane with a sign posted at the entrance that read "Private, No Cars!" I suppose that this must be for respectful best. I can certainly imagine the owners' predicament at the height of the summer: half-a-dozen vehicles blocking each other in as fevered Gen-X drivers jockey to get a camera shot, while the fatter tourist amble their wide asses up onto the lawn to perform the truffle shuffle.



This small city is the place where all of those Scandinavian immigrants who had started off in Chicago met the Pacific at last. This is the western end of what I call America's Swede-Belt. In other words, the lutefisk stops here.



Across from this Finnish fraternal society is a Finnish sauna house, while back in town's center is a Danish bakery as well as a souvenir shop that sells goods and victuals from the four mainland Scandinavian countries. Not far down the road, towards Seaside, is a Sons of Norway lodge.



One of the many aspects that I so love about the Oregon coast is that's a locus of interstices--a hazy strand between the sea's fluid infinity and the realized potentials that make up terrestrial existence.



It's also a probabilistic place between the empyrean and earth.



This interstitial nexus of nature's different realms is different from the self-defining web of the human world, in which the superpositions of the mind's inner reality are collapsed into the discrete moments of an individual's social existence through external interactions with others and corresponding, natural acts of internal circumscription.





It's further inland, on the dry sandy side of beach, that the gnoetic phase-line movement from natural knowledge to human cultural is crossed.  A return to the safe world of artifice and fixed facts from the natural world's mysteries and some times dangerous realities.



Another reason I so enjoy going to the coast is to experience that transition to and back again.  The  preparation of food is another one of those ways that we people transmute unsafe nature into culture, and a great way of further capturing that experience of being out on the coast.



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