Goodbye From Inside The Box

Urn with Ashes

It was morning.

It was morning, and I had taken my father in law to the beach, one last time. I took the solid, cedar box to the balcony overlooking the sea.  He had died nearly two years before, but our family was unable to return to Seattle for a memorial.

I took my father-in-law with me as I moved and traveled. He was always quiet, as usual.  I teased him that perhaps he’d see some pretty girls on the beach, if only his view weren’t obscured by the box.

Fall at La Push Beach

He enjoyed the sunrise more than me.

Never much of a morning person, so getting up early to show him the sunrise one last time was, I hoped, not lost on him, although he never really said anything about it.  I felt the sunset would surely be even better, even if only one of us was actually awake.

Fall at La Push Beach

Even big clouds didn’t elicit a response.

I was sure the evening sky would at least spark some conversation… but perhaps he was full from the dinner I had.

Fall at La Push Beach

At last, the thunder!

At last the excitement arrived. A giant thunder cloud, poring down its feelings onto the ocean before us!  The air was blanket heavy with moisture. I clapped when the thunder came, but alas, he did not.

Fall at La Push Beach

By morning, steaming coffee in hand, I waved goodbye as he waited on the deck, and wandered out onto the rough shore, huge trees adorning it in grassy, wooden necklaces.

Fall at La Push Beach

I felt a little guilt for leaving him for so long, and that, well, he couldn’t see what I was seeing anymore… or could he?

Fall at La Push Beach

The brave roots of this enormous tree were so thrilled with their new view!  Sky!  Clouds!  Each other!  Roots cannot normally see each other, I am told.

Fall at La Push Beach

Some trees snuck a rock or two in between themselves, just for kicks.  I told him this when I returned some time later. He has not made any new coffee for me.

Fall at La Push Beach

The glorious blue sky sang even louder than the surf, and my friend, you’ve never seen happier roots than I did that day.

Fall at La Push Beach

Even the sideways wind got in on it, gurgling with the little tide, tiptoeing across the wood – here, on the beach, and back there, in the box, where my father-in-law waited, quiet, as usual.

Fall at La Push Beach

My favorite: being with the little ones I like to call, “The Waiters.”  Not like people who bring spaghetti to the table – no.  I mean, the things that seem to make a living waiting.  Yes. The rocks.

Fall at La Push Beach

But before I could dwell too long on the various hums and sighs of the still-waiting stones and pebbles, the sun arrived – or rather, we here arrived to it.

Fall at La Push Beach

Boulders are rocks, too, yes, but they don’t seem to wait. They are too busy ducking the waves.  At least, that was what I told my father-in-law later.

Fall at La Push Beach

And this is how we said goodbye, me from the shore, and he from inside the box.

Goodnight, sweet Jose.

Goodnight.

Anjani Millet

©Copyright 2014

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Sunset Beach Storm

Sunset Beach Storm

Sunset Rainstorm, Washington Coast

Sunset Rainstorm, Washington Coast

 

 

Deeply Orange Evening

Deeply Orange Evening

Looming SunsetThis evening brought a beautiful, dramatic storm which rocked my little cottage and brought a stunning sunset. Dark, heavy clouds were pierced by the most elegant, orange clouds over the sea, and seagulls seemed to be thrilled to play in the wild winds. All evening the wind has continued, and the untamed rains, and even a little snow. All this while I look out over the sea. I live in the tiniest little beach cottage, and when the wind blows hard, I wonder just how long before the floor gives way.  My little street floods and the dog won’t even go out.  I love my little seaside cottage, though it’s a temporary arrangement. A friend had this little cabin available just for a few months until tourist season, so I jumped on it. Every morning we walk on the shore, and once in awhile we get the treat of another wild storm on the sea. I just love it.

 

All material ©Copyright 2014 Anjani Millet.

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Glimpsing Light Through Seashells

Glimpsing Light Through Seashells

Seashell partially submerged in the tide

Seashell Backlit By Sunset. ©2014 Anjani Millet

This is what I come home to these days….

I caught this out of the corner of my eye – I’d never seen a shell penetrated by light. The little ripples where it was resting in the sand were just a little magical too.

I wanted to share this moment I found and photographed on the beach at my house, because when we talk about fine art, I remembered this: the finest art is sometimes happening right under our noses, in nature, every single day. The amazing backlight of sunset painted on the back of this shell – shining right through it – stopped me in my tracks. Beautiful nature of our extraordinary world gives to us the opportunity to see the true mastery of light if we only look.

I am back at my little sea cottage and arrived right at sunset to a beautiful orange and pink sky, with the ocean slipping away in the low tide just in front of my door. Now a storm is rolling in, and while I was tucked in with the dog, doing a little work, I heard just outside – what was that?? – an owl on my roof, just above me. Over and over, hoot-hoothoothoot-hooot..

Owl. Ocean. Huge, open expansive sky. Happiness.

What makes you go “ahhh”?
©Copyright 2014 Anjani Millet Photography

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Hostal Spa Empuries, Spain

On a beautiful Spanish Tuesday afternoon, I landed at the Hostal
Empuries, near the sleepy Spanish town of L’Escala, in the Costa Brava
region, near Girona. Don’t let the name of this wonderful hotel confuse
you: ‘hostal’ does not mean ‘hostel’: far from it. It simply means
‘hotel’. Nestled between pine trees and sand, the hotel rests on
Portitxol Beach with its “dainty” cliffs.

This seaside resort
is a quiet and beautiful hotel and spa, established more than 100 years
ago. It is the first hotel in Europe to be awarded Gold LEED
certification — the highest environmental achievement, and aside from
being gorgeous and environmentally responsible, boasts a beautiful
restaurant as well.  Serving sumptuous eco-mediterranean cuisine, the
Villa Teresita provides formal dining under the excellent care of Chef
Rafa Peña, as well as the more casual Bistró del Mar.

In a
pleasant afternoon interview with Susana Bosols, Director of Marketing,
we shared black coffee and she described for me their main objectives:
social and ecological responsibility, rejecting waste culture, and the
notion of “following the ant’s trail.”  Along with LEED certification,
the hotel espouses the concept of “cradle to cradle.” From their
website, they describe their principles:

“One of the
principles of Hostal Empuries, according to our social and ecological
responsibilities, had been to think globally and act locally, in order
to create awareness of the Earth as an organism which must be cared for.
Based on the idea that the population of ants on the planet is 3 times
greater than that of humans, understanding that they are beneficial to
this biological organism, the Earth, we want to follow the ant’s trail.

The
building type we have used, therefore, has green roofs which increase
plant life and biodiversity. We have chosen plants typical of the local
area, which are drought tolerant and are only watered from rainfall
collected from the roofs or recycled from the bathrooms and kitchen. For
fertilizer we use nothing more than organic matter left over from the
kitchen.

At Hostal Empuries we care
about humanity and the inheritance to which we are connected. We aim to
provide the best experience possible for our guests and leave a lasting
legacy for future generations…In truth, human beings are the only ones
capable of carrying the responsibility for their harmful behavior and
actions which instigate the destruction of our habitat and the habitats
of all other life forms on the planet.

We
must therefore commit, in a personal way, to take preventative action
and plan for a better future.In order to best plan and develop the
greater part of our initiatives we take advantage of the finest
standards available in order to guarantee sustainability.”

The LEED certification and Cradle to Cradle principles are:
* The Certificate of Sustainable Architecture “LEED,” whose aim is to
ensure that a building becomes a regenerative agent in its environment,
preventing erosion, improving water quality and increasing biodiversity
to benefit the whole community.
* The “Cradle to Cradle” Principle
or “C2C” which promotes the use of materials which are not only
sustainable but whose useful life might continue beyond that for which
it was originally intended, to be re-used in other ways and finally
being converted back into new base material.

Aside from
outstanding environmental stewardship, the hotel has a beautiful
restaurant, including on-site organic gardens which supply the kitchen.
The spa too adheres to the strictest environmental standards, using
natural oils and other products for the body, and natural products for
cleaning. This is true throughout the hotel.

Chef
Rafa Peña generously spoke with me after a beautiful evening meal, and
even shared his recipe for Cod Brandada. He offered a great tip for
finding the perfect restaurant while traveling:

“When
you travel, go to the best restaurant you can find and afford –
Michelin starred, for instance – and have a meal there.  Lunchtime is
often a bit less expensive. Then, ask the chef him or herself where to
eat in that city. Go where they tell you.  The good chefs always know
where to go!”

What a great idea. Thank you, Chef!

I
loved the Hostal Empuries, its philosophy, the lovely rooms, the
gorgeous beach environment… and the food was outstanding. I’d go back
tomorrow if I could. Maybe I will!

-Anjani

Hostal Empúries – Platja de Portitxol s/n Ap. Correos 174.17130 l’Escala, Girona, Spain

Tel: 972.77.02.07 | Fax: 972.98.29.36, info@hostalempuries.com, GPS: 42.13182400, 3.12234900

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