We have planned to go to the beach all summer and haven't made it yet. Rainbow has never seen the ocean in her nearly 11 months of life. So Monday was our scheduled, absolute, definite day we were going to the coast! But then...Recording of The Subterranean Howl's second album, "The Tyranny of the Visual" has been in full swing for the last few weeks and Monday happened to be a day where two band members had the day off from work, and I am headed to a beach trip this weekend with church friends so it is imperative for Eli to cram as much recording in as possible before I take off etc...So much to the dismay of the darlings we changed the day yet again to Tuesday, today. Picnic vittles-check. Ice-check. Enough diapers-check. Extra clothes-check. All systems ago. Alarm set. We awake in the morning and think to check the coastal weather forecast. Chance of showers 60 degrees. Wednesday's temperature is ten degrees warmer....We considered postponing and came to a compromise. So as not to upset our careful balance of other appointments Wednesday and more importantly these fragile, hopeful hearts we pack in the car and head to Rooster Rock by the Colombia River. Rumor has it going east leads to more sun. As we arrive there are hints of rain and a gray cast. We check our options along the rocky shore hoping for a patch of sand, head to the left (the opposite direction) of the "Clothing Optional" portion. As an aside, the nicest portion is reserved for the weirdos who feel so burdened by a measly piece of fabric called shorts, ruining the possibility for morally discerning families the enjoyment of this portion. Hoping to add some cinnamon to the search and long walk for a suitable spot I sing, "Going on a Tiger hunt, I'm not scared, got my lunch by my side and my camera, too. Comin' to some tall grass...Gotta get through it...." No eye contact made and I could sense the groanings of Carolina and her lack of appreciation for my musical prowess. In my defense it did look like a grassy safari trek. Then a random sign tells us beyond this point clothing is optional. What? So much for this way being safe. Eli investigated to see if there were people there. Unfortunately the report was true so we turned around giving limited information and answers to the kids. Turned around, headed toward wooden pillars and a dike we balanced the whole strip. Moses jumped/fell off just before it got too dangerous to jump. Eli hoisted him to safety and to the end we went hoping again for sand at the end. There was plently of squishy, silty mud instead. I nursed a tired Rainbow who fell asleep in my arms for a cat nap while Eli took the Adventure Crew into the mud. I loved seeing their enlightened forms charge to nature, where they belong. Holding Rainbow still I heard many things: a small, steady rattle sound. I think it was a cricket. A flock of crows squack and fly low, the batting of their hollow wings, wind sorting the grass and tendering particles of sand. The wooden pillars as a backdrop, green erratic grasses and boulders formed in my minds eye a decent composition. I slowly stretched to my camera disturbing Rainbow a bit so I settle back to home base so as nopt to wake her. This composition must be painted only in my mind for now. The gang comes back ready for peanut butter crackers and juice, whetting their appetites for lunch. Adrianna protests the long journey back to the playground and grassy park area. Her shoes are muddy. "I'm uhsausted! I need help Mudder." Rainbow enjoys a pear, some yogurt, a raw carrot. At first I took it away assuming it to be too hard but she keeps kinding it so persistance serves her well and she enjoys its teething qualities for awhile. Moses takes his granola bar to go, in motion on the swing. When we get home he tells me he didn't eat much. I ask him why and he says he was just having too much fun to eat. Sunny and Moses' work on their frizbee skills with Eli. Rainbow sings a sobbing, sweet sorrowful tune of not enough sleep. The kids ask to go back into the water. Swimsuits on and ready the sun is breaking and sharing its smiles on my spirit. Suddenly free-spirited adventure crew and sunshine unite to convince me this is a good idea. The mud was so squishy and wonderful. Wet and shlunky it made the most satisfying sound when you pulled your foot out. Mud splattered on my leg. Adrianna and I dance and spin "like ballet" she interprets. The pools are surprisingly sun-kissed and the flat and shallow water extends for quite a while. It was sooooo fun! Rainbow was quick to note all the fun we seemed to be having and insisted she be allowed to participate. She kicked in the water and splashed and stirred her hands. Ate some silty sand. A few times-she didn't catch on that it wasn't good the first time and wouldn't be so great the next time. Happy sounds. Sunny roamed as far as she could pushing the boundaries of her freedom. Oh how that girl loves to be free. Sunny found a small peninsula and the trio began to make two mud jellos-which I overheard Sunny say they were best when they were 'plump.' So, if you ever make mud jello, you'll know.