The north wind that numbs my exposed hands drive moderate surf onto this Douglas Island beach but doesn’t perturb the gulls. Forming a loose little raft of gray and white bodies, they surrender to wind and tide pushing them onto a cresting line of waves. One having dropped into a quiet dip in the wave line watches Aki and I while the rest calmly turn and paddle away from the beach.
Dry and clothed in fleece, Aki and I suffer a little from the wind driven cold, feeling disinclined to linger on the open beach, willing to give only a quick study to the beauty of freshly dusted islands and the mix of greens, whites, and grays churning in an unsettled sea, shamed by surfing gulls apparently above discomfort.
Turning into the old growth forest we place the wind and open beach light behind us and find each tall spruce and hemlock sporting a thin white stripe of snow that climbs from bell to crown. Most days the stand of countless trees overwhelm, each competing for my attention, drawing the eye to the horizon and exhaustion. The snow stripes unify the scene, bring harmony, order, reveal forest beauty.