8.18 Gazette editor’s note: Cannon Beach – small sky country

The clear skies of recent weeks have made for some great Cannon Beach views.
By day, the lookout points along the S-curves reveal a busy, busy beach and herds of colorful kites whipping skyward.
By twilight, the chorus of camera flashes twinkling up and down the shoreline lends strong evidence to the anecdotal claim that Haystack Rock is among the world’s most photographed rocks.

By night, the lights of tiny fishing boats can be seen bobbing on the far horizon beneath a sky washed with shooting stars, tracking satellites and a moon bright enough to bathe the entire town in a milky blue glow.
It’s always amazed me how the sky can shrink or expand depending where on earth you happen to be standing.

When I lived in the Midwest, I was perpetually bowled over by its sheer size, its undeniable big-ness. All those endless acres of flat, rolling prairieland with nary a snow-capped mountain in sight made for some astonishingly sweeping panoramas, and as a native Oregonian, I was stunned by all of that uninterrupted atmosphere. The Missouri sky is massive enough to make a person feel rather tiny, indeed. I can still recall standing in the middle of a giant parking lot one August evening and feeling as if I could at any moment come untethered from the concrete and float up into the massive pink abyss. I was shocked rudely out of my reverie by the engine rev of an electric blue monster truck waiting for my parking spot, but that sense of awe lingered.

In Cannon Beach, enclosed as we are by mountains and cloud cover, I don’t think about the sky as much. We coastal residents find ourselves physically and metaphorically socked in for much of the year, so it tends to take on a less imposing demeanor. Even in the summer, even when the day will be cloudless, mornings dawn foggy. And even at the tops of mountains, you’re usually surrounded on most sides by still bigger mountains.

All that insulation makes for cozy living, that’s for sure. The world takes on a smaller, more accessible feel. You grow fond of climbing upwards not for the view at the top so much as eye-level encounters along the way. You tend to stick closer to home, and to keep quieter company. (I fielded about three whole overnight visitors between the months of November and April.)

But now that I’m able to cast my sights a little farther afield once more, I’m finding myself hungry for a broader perspective.
The same holds true for the Gazette and its readers, who are getting themselves into some pretty far-flung adventures. Read on for the story of a cat whose 600-mile adventure stunned seasoned animal shelter volunteers (p. 7), a group of young adults who traveled cross-country to bring attention to the affordable housing crisis (p. 3) and the globally inspired musings of the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum’s newest employee (p. 10).

You’ll also notice a few new bylines on our front-page special report on vacation home rental trends. We’re leveraging our relationships with our Country Media sister publications across Oregon to bring you news coverage that puts local news in context with the bigger regional picture

As for me, I’ve just learned that my family bought me flying lessons for my 30th birthday, which I celebrate this month. Here’s to new and better views!

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

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