An Unexpected Gift

Friday is almost always a no-run day, has been for years.  That is not to say I don’t get out for a walk, a pedal, or… trying to catch sunset in pictures again.sunset 008
The prairie is behind. Waters of Admiralty Inlet in front. The Olympic Mountains, complete with winter’s shoulders of snow, are just across. The sun is moving slowly across their skyline. A voice from somewhere in time barely remembers something about “two diameters a day”–a clearer memory says we are just over one third of the way through this winter. A solstice or two found me out here checking, taking note of just which peak kidnapped the sun that evening. A ransom was exchanged and warmth returned… two diameters at a time. Ravens and eagles played along the bluff. Vibrant black feathers shone a little brighter each evening. Two eagles, almost adults, only a few brown streaks in their shoulders and great broad tails, played, talons flashing like swords of old. Each day’s passing gave a few minutes more daylight; two diameters at a time.
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At water’s edge…, “Is this the ocean?” I looked around, small people nearby–one looked at me quizzically. Where is her big person? “Is this the ocean?” I sat down on a driftwood log, picked up a pointing stick, “No. This is not the ocean.” I pointed off in the distance at the end of the mountains to the flat spot. “See the flat spot?” “Yes.” “The ocean is out there.” “Is that where the whales are?” “Yes. It is getting dark. They go out there to sleep.” “Why do they go out there to sleep?” “If they sleep in here the light from the lighthouse (pointing at the Port Townsend lighthouse—on cue) keeps them awake.” “Oh.” Small person runs off to a large person, “Mom, he said all the whales went out there to go to sleep.” I turned to look at Mt. Rainier.
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I should have come out earlier; gone up on the bluff. Time has lapses up there. A not painful, but inconvenient lesson was learned when I plopped down to watch a ship or two, outbound, probably to Perth or Busan or maybe somewhere romantic like Long Beach. A gazillion tons of things unneeded, but easily sold–hidden by lights that look like Japanese lanterns slowly going out with the tide. I have no flashlight tonight and the little person is coming back.
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“Do you know her?” “No. I just thought taking a picture of someone taking a picture was cool.” “Oh. Mom wants to know where the trees are.” Hmmm, there aren’t any trees here. We are on the prairie. “The trees all got knocked over by the glacier a long time ago.” “A glacier?” Uh oh, she knows what a glacier is. “Yes, there was a glacier here about ten thousand years ago.” “Where is it now?” “Canada. It was from Canada and it went home.” “Where’s Canada?” I pointed to Canada. “Is that where the trees are?” “What trees?” She pointed at the car, “The trees on the book.” I glanced at the car. Mom(?) was looking in the back window… hmmm. “Where are you from?” “Iowa. Do you know where that is? We don’t have any of those (pointing at the Olympic Mountains). We don’t have any big trees neither. Where are the trees?” I really wish I could guess at her age. What age does curiosity go away? What would she think of a jelly fish? Mom (?) is still at the car. I got up and walked over. “Are you really from Iowa?” She smiled, “Yes. I’m sorry about Clare bothering you.” “Not bothering, just asking questions about things not in Iowa.” She pointed at a copy of a book in the car. “We both want to know where those trees are.” Ahhh, those trees.  How did they know it was my car? There is always a copy of my book and a copy of Kathy’s book in the car. I unlocked the car and got my book out and handed it to her. I explained where Baker Lake is and how you probably can’t get there at this time of the year because of snow. Mom looked disappointed. Small person looked very disappointed. I got a trail map of nearby Fort Ebey State Park out of the car. In the fading light I explained about Cedar Grove and the old men, the old trees up there–and maybe, just maybe, the two eagles we think live there … “Eagles!?” Small person bounces too. “Yes, maybe, but even if they aren’t home it is a beautiful trail with some very old trees.” I turned to leave. “Bye!” “Bye, Clare.” Mom held out the book, “Your book.” I said, “No, your book–enjoy our island.”
cover_mixHow did they know it was my car

—–Run gently out there—–