After a week of rain and with the promise of some clearing, I went to the trails at Ft. Ebey State Park today. Last Sunday, I’d driven to a trailhead near Mt. Erie in Anacortes and couldn’t find a parking place. A rare, brilliant, sunny, weekend day had brought out the masses. As I adhere to the loneliness-of-the-long-distance runner philosophy these days, I turned around and went home. Today I was rewarded with, mostly, empty trails. And, mostly, silence and solitude as well. But as I went off down the familiar trails, I thought, perhaps, that there was too much room in my head for thinking about someone, for missing someone. So I concentrated on seeing, not so difficult, because beauty is everywhere at Ft. Ebey.
This is what I saw: an immature bald eagle drafting on the wind; a submarine with its flotilla of escort vessels running south in Admiralty Inlet; two amorous ravens swiftly slipping through the trees; bicycle ruts and skid marks on the descents into the kettles; storm clouds over the Olympics; snowy mountain ridges and peaks stealing glances through the windows of the storm clouds over the Olympics; gorse; a baby in a backpack, sleeping; two yappy West Highland terriers straining at their leashes; one sedate full-sized white poodle; cat’s-paws on the water; yellow blossoms on the Scotch broom; winter wrens playing in the shadows of fallen Douglas firs; robins and towhees and flickers and juncos; a merlin far from the prairie; my first, of the season, rufous hummingbird; footsteps on the sandy beach, as seen from the bluff trail; blue fingers on the tips of Sitka spruce; green grass sprouting beneath brown ocean spray; trail signs whispering to turn uphill at the next junction; a seal swinging on a buoy; the buoy. Gray skies, gray water, gray world fading into evening rust and rose.
This is what I didn’t see: John.