My name is Grace Darling. I am a writer, lover, crafter, and soon to be mother who is hoping to use this as an outlet to share my stories, creations, recipes, lessons learned, and all of the other little pieces life gifts me as I step into the new role of wife and mother while preserving my original form of composer and wanderer. I live with my boyfriend in a salty little beach town on the soggy coast of Oregon nestled between the, you guessed it, Sitka Trees and Salty Seas. I have always had a strong love for words, an internal narration of observation and awe of this world. This never resting voice is what has always driven me to record my moments on paper, and I am ready to share them further than just with my pages. I hope to spark some else’s light by sharing pieces of my own. I truly believe that there is an intuitive magic within the words that we give wings to by sharing them, that they have a knowledge beyond us, always finding the fated eyes who need them most. So please, dig in to my little slice of words, wisdom, tutorials, and beachy bliss and enjoy!
See more of my story below.
I wanted to share a little more about what makes up the girl behind my posts. On this page I hope to give my readers a stronger feel for my home, my family, for who I truly am, and for what I do. For all the things that have created the girl who created Sitka Trees & Salty Seas.
I am an eternal beach child. Born and now indefinitely residing in Seaside, Oregon. I am made up of my sand, the treasures this place gifts me with each new tide; the shells and sea glass rubbed smooth by the rocks that line my cove. I am the music of my rain, the way the mountain breaks off so abruptly at the coast line, in some spots as if the edge just couldn’t resist the beauty of the sea any longer and chopped itself from the rest of the world. Yes, my now happily anchored gypsy soul is made of early morning sunrises from the east and burning tangerine sunsets over the wests’ waters, of sleepy monk coffee, of my stories, of my blessed, blessed start in this place. I am the parallels I observe and record in my writing, the things that move me, that tug on my heart and never truly release it. I am the others who have crossed my path, sharing the tales of their own. I am the paths of my little brother and sister. Her fire and his confidence fill me. I am every piece of every item I create for my Sitka Trees & Salty Seas shop, and my home, each piece is full of shells and treasures collected by my hands by my sea and then delicately crafted to pass the love and feeling my home gifts me on my venture to you. All of these beautiful pieces make up the mosaic that is my heart.
My eyes are some times the deep green of the mighty spruce trees that guard my coast and other times the bright yellow of the sun as she wakes us up. The sand mirrors its’ soft tan and honey shades in my blonde hair. I truly feel that every part of who I am is a manifestation of this soul-shakingly beautiful place I came from. I have a craving and deep love for the simple, the rain, blank paper and pencils that are my own, weathered by my stories. For old books, clever words, and beautiful things. And probably more than anything I have a love for the power of story. I collect books and pass along the ones that really touch me by leaving them some where that they will find the next person they are supposed to touch. The margins filled with breaths of me written in by my soft pencil. My family is my rock. We are knotted tightly together because of hard days attempting to pull us apart as well as happy ones where we tied ourselves together in joy. As souls in this world our biggest deeds and accomplishments sit in the hearts of those we love, and to live for that is the greatest honor under heaven. I live for my ocean and for being one with this place. Whether walking the edge of the water on my eternal treasure hunt, skimboarding over the shimmering white water, or wandering in the woods; I am constantly full of wonder.
Seaside is a precious little beach town that sits on the northern most coastal corner of Oregon. A town of about 6,500 people, a population that grows significantly during the summer months. It is a charming little tourist town, but more importantly it is a one of a kind haven for those who belong to it full time. It rains nine months out of the year some years more some less. To some of you that may sound dreadful, but we love it here in this salty shower. It is an indescribable love. I have lived all over and always found my way back home. I always knew I would be a lifer, I just didn’t know when that status would become fully permanent. I graduated from high school in 2008. Since then I have lived in other parts of Oregon, Arizona, and even California. I have also explored and visited other countless places. I found myself in a cycle of living in a new place each year and returning home during the summer to work and save money to fund my next adventure. Having traveled and lived all over I can honestly say there is no place like my home. It is a little untouched slice of heaven sitting between a forest of Sitka spruce trees to the East and a vast stretch of salty seas to the West. It is the charm and soul of this place which I tend to pour in to all of my creation and writing that I named this blog for.
Here in Oregon we truly have the best of everything. In a couple of hours in any direction you can be at the edge of the world at the beach, in the busy city, at the snow-covered mountain, or in the damp mighty forest. Sitting on the coastline and separated from the nearest big city of Portland, Seaside represents a very small part that is left of our world that remains somewhat untouched and still guarded from the plastic strip mall mess that has become our world. It is green and salty and humble and I could never truly belong anywhere but here. This alone, it’s preserved charm and loveliness is why I think I have never been able to stick anywhere else for long. My ocean, the smoothed pebble streets, and moss-covered everything always sing me home. I can go somewhere for a while, sure. I can dance in it’s newness, unearth it’s secrets and stories for a bit but my beach always calls. A whisper at first, but that cry always grows until I can’t ignore it any longer. I am so blessed that I come from such a beautiful, untainted little stretch of earth. I have met people in many of my travels who just have to know where I am from and when the words ‘Oregon’ and ‘coast’ leave my lips their eyes smile knowingly and they remark on my ease of being. That is probably one of the absolute biggest things that brought me home indefinitely, the people here. Oregonians, especially the coasties have a humbleness to them that is unparalleled anywhere I have been. We smile and greet each other when we pass, (crazy I know) we help each other, we love; our land, our rain, our coffee, oh that is just it, we love. Too big and too pure to ever truly explain in true intimacy to someone who grew elsewhere.
This watercolor skied wonderland will always be where I continue to grow, and more importantly where my children will be planted and rise up. The gift that is my foundation in this safe haven is invaluable, like possessing a secret antidote. A cure for hustle and bustle, for the tense, the generic, for concrete mazes who suck your minutes away, again and again each day. A cure for silly society, and cities that box you in with their light and their advertisements and their empty gardens, pebble yards, and acre long shopping malls. If I can give my littles anything in this world that is it, the freedom from those things while they are little. And hey, if when they grow up the city is the most romantic thing they have ever felt, and they find their hearts beat for the firefly sparkle and bluster of it all. If their feet happen to like shoes and tiled floors and office buildings and the floods of new faces everyday, and walking along the barnacle covered rocks and beaches with a shell in hand and feet in the sand becomes only a childhood way, then I will applaud their fervor and be glad they found a love like I have for my home. But I do know that starting here, in this selfless, innocent, loving, insanely gorgeous place will make them better. It will make them kinder, more curious, happier, shining people. And I know somewhere in their commute or hustle or in a long line for some silly hipster city folk mess of a coffee, someone will just have to know. They will ask with sheer, burning curiousity where the kind soul next to them came from. And when my little answers they will be met with that same knowing gaze I encountered in my travels. And I know, I just know they will miss their home, if only for a second, and just as I was they will fill of gratitude, and be glad for their sandy start in this life.