January 31, 2010 Stoney Way Creek, 5 miles south of Yahats, just south of Bob Creek.
Our new puppy Ryle, a golden streak of baby fur and bursts of energy. He is teething and a stick of driftwood is his teether of choice.
The Pacific Ocean throws small round black rocks skittering all over the beach.This highest tide of the year tumbles them endlessly, a prehistoric sound to my ear. Tom already found a good sized agate- large as a human eye, golden and clear. 10 Mile Creek runs high on this full moon. Recent rains crash with considerable forch against the pushing tide. Salty white foamy spume only makes so much progress against the fast steady stream before the wave subsides.
I identify with the with this brisk stream, collecting from hundreds ecosystems. It delivers them all to the Source. My job as well – deliver them all to the Source. There I can safely deposit it all, and yes, once again, with no concern for results.
Near offshore, 8 brown pelicans undulate in a line. They patrol the backlit waves for little fish. Brilliant blue sky today with only the sheerest glaze of white clouds lifting.
We leave the beach, driving the 10 mile switch back mountain road. We stop at a hunters camp. The aspens hide at least one frog. What a relief, a frog. Too many stories about disappearing amphibians. I am happy to be here with my little golden dog sleeping in the sun. Tom is scouting a dank ravine – lured by crystal cluster agates and hard red jasper. I would not follow him there today but remain in full light. This clearing has every element of my earliest childhood landscape: wet sword ferns, devils club, the smell of forest floor. Birds that never bothered to leave this mild winter. The frog again. Twitchity, twitchity. I will identify that one on my way home.
I wanted to stop a mile or two back down the road. I wanted to be in the green gold moss forest by the river but it was posted, “we shoot trespassers.” We didn’t go in. But I want to look again at the massive old cedar. I looks like a green giant dripping irridescent gold moss – the ancient wise one of the mountain. I should have stopped to get my picture. I will never see it quite that way again. Me dreaming of dripping green goldness; him dreaming of clear yellow agates plucked from dark cold waters in a dank ravine.
I cannot waste precious sun, not even for precious stones. I doze in the warm winter light. Tom returns with a smile and a yellow red carnelian the size of his fist.
I make us go back to search for my shaggy moss giant. The light has changed. I find it, the massive tortured and twisted green cedar. I photograph it and I have the bones, the basic structure that I need for a painting. The light, the impression of a living breathing entity, of ancient years and eons of water and mist and moss are all in my memory. I will have to remember – the camera cannot give it to me.
Every winter she remembers how the ice
came down out of the north,
locking the land in creaking sheets
of weighted white. Bears froze
in their dens. Ptarmigan and hares
stayed white all year round.
The big animals, the mastodon
and dire wolf, even saber-toothed cat
stayed south of the Big Ice, obeying
that single law: Eat or Die.
She lived those ages out in a high cave
on the Prince of Wales Island looking south.
She scambled together a denning nest
of dry seaweed, lichen and moss,
living on mussels and crab and finally,
gone into that hibernating sleep,
on her own fat reservoirs.
Last November, she left me, traveling
back in time and north to that cave
where now she sleeps the long north nights
dreaming perhaps of our life together
or perhaps she dreams of her glory days
with The People.
But I am abandoned here in the rainy green,
her pale girl, flap-armed marionette
with nothing real to say.
How long before a lengthening sun
sends puffins to the cave to wake
the sleeping Giantess? There will be
spring-run salmon to fuel
her waking blood. When, oh when,
will she remember me and follow
the line of the warming sun south?
In my cold garden, the apple boughs
are still bare, but I have built
a fire circle of green sea agates
and a red carnelian to call her home.