DIANE URBANI DE LA PAZ: Summer full of uplift, renewal

REACH INSIDE AND lift up your younger self, Joe Gaydos told us. See yourself as an explorer.

Gladly. Gaydos, lead scientist with the SeaDoc Society, came to Port Townsend’s Marine Science Center last Saturday to help us explore the glorious world at the waterline.

Those tide pools out there? Come low tide, “they’re a part of the ocean that is gifted to us twice a day,” he said, so we may behold gardens of anemones, sea stars and eggplant-hued urchins.

Gaydos is author of the new “Explore the Salish Sea: A Nature Guide for Kids,” and was in town for a youth-oriented presentation.

But the guy is like a Pixar movie, engaging and delighting young ones and older folks.

We can all be explorers, Gaydos believes, while we all have barriers — physical limitations, people saying “you can’t” and our own doubts. Let your curiosity inundate all that. And go forth.

I’d like to do more exploring, in nature and culture.

I need to get out of my same-old, going to the gym to exercise, listening only to my favorite rock ’n’ rollers.

Happily, summer offers abundant opportunities to get outside.

The Tuesday evening Music in the Park series, for one example, begins this month at Sequim’s James Center bandshell; Port Angeles’ Wednesday Concerts on the Pier start June 27 and Port Townsend’s Thursday Concerts on the Dock launch July 12.

At Fort Worden State Park beginning June 29, Free Fridays at the Fort concerts go into jazz, blues, folk music and beyond, all on the Commons lawn at lunchtime.

Another way to feed my head: an art walk. These happen every first Friday night in Sequim, first Saturday in Port Townsend and on the second Saturday of the month in Port Angeles.

This Saturday from 5 p.m. on Studio Bob, 118½ E. Front St., hosts the annual Brush Off, a lighthearted painting competition open to everybody. It’s a blast.

At last month’s gallery stroll in Port Townsend, I went into the Northwind Art Center to see the new show there, and while admiring a particular painting, I saw a familiar face: David Willis of Sequim.

The painting I had found was his creation; I hadn’t known he was a visual artist.

Oh, and the beach. On a recent walk at Fort Worden, I saw a brother and sister, probably ages 8 and 10, building a twin-turreted sandcastle. Nearby were a dad and his two little ones balancing, like herons in blue jeans, on a big driftwood log. They were feeling the good stuff: warm sun on the head, smooth wood under the arches of the feet.

I’ll return soon to that beach.

It’s a mini summer vacation, a way to reach for that kid within and give her time for frolic. And wouldn’t you know it, the Marine Science Center offers guided low-tide walks all summer long.

You can accept that gift from the ocean on Saturday, June 16, at 11:30 a.m.; on July 14 at 10:30 a.m. and finally at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 11.

The 90-minute walks start from the center’s Natural History Exhibit facing the beach.

Your fee, $5 for adults and $3 for children age 5 and older, includes admission to the whole Marine Science Center (ptmsc.org).

I look forward to getting out there to commune with the sea creatures. As I explore, I want to keep my mind open, like a bright-green sea anemone stays open to all those nutrients in the Salish Sea.


Diane Urbani de la Paz, a freelance journalist and former PDN features editor, lives in Port Townsend.

Her column appears in the PDN the first and third Wednesday every month. Her next column will be June 20.

Reach her at [email protected]

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