At this time of the year, when I see the light turn intense and slant through the trees, gilding them in copper and bronze, I like to go for a walk with Katya, my Maine Coon. We wind our way through the shoulder high, rustling salal brush to reach a shelf of gravel and rock, the nearest west facing beach. Usually I take a book with me and, in between turning pages, I look up to absorb the sunset's progression. Winter and its short, dark days are far behind us now.
Katya investigates clumps of beach grass before selecting a sun-warmed rock with a view of the strait. She keeps looking back at me, where I'm sitting on the gravel, leaning against a drift log and reading, as if to share with me how beautiful it all is.
There is a strong breeze blowing, ruffling the alder leaves and rustling through the forest as waves rush and crash beyond them. The weather guarantees that we have the world, or at least this part of it, entirely to ourselves.
"Does it get any better than this?" Katya seems to marvel as she looks back at me again.
I have to agree.
It's eight-thirty in the evening and the strait is rugged with a short, rough chop on top of a big swell. The waves continually ram the rock shelf I'm on and burst into spray, dark speckles silhouetted against the sunset.
As the extreme light deepens, I put down my book and cross to the very edge of the rock shelf, where seaweed carpets the granite, and feel the solidity of the earth as the force of the ocean crashes into it repeatedly and does no damage.
I take a picture and click! the ephemeral spray becomes as solid as the ground I'm standing on.
It's nine o'clock now and I can still read easily so I sit back down and return to my book, glancing up to watch the sun lose its shape and dissolve into light and color. An eagle soars over the dark tree tops, wings stretched as if to embrace the moment.
In years gone by I would stand in this very spot in humbled awe and wish there was some way to share it with the rest of the world. Now that I have the blog I can share it with at least some and hope it gives you a sense of the earth's patient, enduring beauty.
Tara Neilson (ADOW)