The world at night here is very dark. Pitch black. Only stars delineate the horizon. The roar of the ocean envelops all sound.
We walk past glossy dark-green sword ferns that would dwarf those in our garden at home, thriving in their natural habitat at twice the size of their urban brethren. Pools of standing water shimmer inky black broken only by Skunk cabbage sprouts and by silver rings pulsating outward from tree drip raindrops. The forest is black and green, stark and gothic in the deep of winter.
The world is reduced to a simple palate.
There are no neon lights, signs, advertisements, wires, traffic, roads, buildings, signs, people (also no covid, wifi, cell reception, restaurants, cafes, mobs, riots, or news, fake or otherwise).
There are smooth rocks of all sizes.
The beach is empty, save us. The sky is empty, save a family of bald eagles, two with white heads and tails, two juveniles sporting mottled brown overall. The beach is seemingly devoid of life. What are the eagles looking for as they fly over and over along the coastline? The views are vast and repetative.
The sea roils with white grey swells crashing incessantly into the shore and each other. The sound created is like hundreds of waterfalls layed end to end. Tumbling and tumbling.
There is a thin line of craggy trees, a few crashing in yearly mudslides down the clay embankment.
The wild Washington coast is one of my favorite places to be in winter. It’s a yearly pilgrimage of mine, a birthday tradition to revisit the Pacific Ocean. Time here is suspended, and the passing of time is only relevant in relation to the tides or geological time-frames. It could as easily be any century, any millennium. I’ve often thought of time as spiral, and here is an affirmation of that hypothesis. As I walk along the beach here, as I have walked along the beach here for many winters prior, I am the same body, here is the same beach, trees, sky and waves. The coast here is my touchstone. Many changes over the past year, yet nothing has changed. There’s something humbling and comforting, rejuvenating and inspiring about celebrating my birthday annually in the presence of ancient trees, timeless winds and ceaseless waves.
It’s so wild out here on the Olympic coast that the beaches don’t even have names. Ocean Beaches, the signs all point westward, or northward, or northwestward. “Ocean Beaches: collectively, that-a-way. We followed the signs north and west and arrived at Kalaloch where we explored all the nearby beach access points to create a small listicle guide: Beach 1 (spruce burls), Beach 2 (bonsai beach), Beach 3 (cozy cove), Beach 4 (superlative).
BONUS, dear Reader, are a few recent of Lake’s quirky quotes:
“North of December” Is where we are now? Is that January?
“You’re boring my whiskers out” Ahhh, the ennui of the four year old.
Ironically, with all the open space, there’s no room room for boredom at the beach!
A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you