Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach
According to Wikipedia, Haystack Rock is a 235 feet tall sea stack in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is the third tallest intertidal structure in the world and one of the most popular destinations on the Oregon coast. It is “adjacent to the beach and accessible by foot at low tide. The Haystack Rock tide pools are home to many intertidal animals, including starfish, sea anemone, crabs, chitons, limpets and sea slugs. The rock is also a nesting site for many sea birds including terns and puffins.” For me Haystack Rock is one of the defining images of the Oregon Coast. I have walked to and along its vastness and glory many times.
One of my favorite memories was a retreat of pastors and elders of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery in late September, 2016. The retreat was held at Cannon Beach Conference Center. It focused on encouraging church leaders to stay in the game of ministry in the church. Pastors shared vulnerably from their heart on the challenges and struggles of ministry and how the grace of Jesus Christ sustains and strengthens us. We enjoyed rich times of prayer and worship, feasting together around the table, and plenty of time off for coffee or to grab a beer at the local brewery. I remember that I took a long walk with Tim who was heading to Japan to be a missionary. We walked to Haystack rock, reveling in its beauty and sharing our hearts and lives with each other.
One day we were there, the sun broke through the clouds and the mist and all the pastors lounged on the beach, enjoying the sun and conversation and the deep rest of the ocean. Some of us, myself included, even got into our shorts just in case we dared a plunge into the cold waters of the Pacific. I said suddenly, LET’S DO THIS, and we charged towards the ocean. I can’t remember all who made that run into the frigid fall waters, but I do remember that Rev. Sy Nease was one of them. It may have been Rev. Matthew Bohling and Rev. David Scott. The four of us enjoyed monthly gatherings over lunch. All I’m sure of is that Sy was in the charge.
For just a moment I felt young again and crazy and the cares of the world were stripped away and the joy of life and youth and freedom filled my heart. And there was no turning back as our feet hit the cold waters, then knees and then the plunge and leaping out laughing, and then playing in the crashing waves as long as we could. A few years after that Sy moved from the Northwest and our little fellowship disbanded. But no one could take away that day with all its youthful play.
I painted these four takes on Haystack Rock. With each I try to catch some of the glory of that defining rock’s glory. Honestly, it can’t be captured. But If you are interested in one of these paintings, or all four at an amazing price, you can check out the details at my Gallery here.