Small Ball

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Trying to dig out beauty from this rump winter day; one washed clean of snow and most ice by a springlike flush of rain, devoid of winter drama or spring promise, Aki and I walk toward the now ice free Fish Creek Pond.  With clouds blocking mountain views and a minus tide revealing the muddy grass underside of the wetlands we move past the pond and toward the mouth of Fish Creek.

We hear but don’t see eagles and complaining fish ducks while walking the spine of a berm that turns a spruce covered island into the tip of a peninsula.   The trail breaks in two at the island to offer alternative ways to circumnavigate the island.  I look without luck for a third path leading into the trees.

P1100179Playing the photographer’s version of small ball (winning at baseball by combining   a series of good but unimpressive plays) I look down rather than across the open tidelands. Freshly revealed by retreating snow is a death scene.  Predominantly gray or white gull feathers lay where scattered without care by scavengers. We find no bones or skin or organs—nothing eatable.

At another rain washed place we find a confusion of porcupine quills spread on dead grass. Nearby just fallen leaves, dead since last fall, lay about on some remaining snow—pushed off the mother tree by swelling buds. (Our first sign of spring).

P1100166After reaching island’s end we enter an opening at its tip formed by a recent windfall.  Where once huge spruce stood we find 70 year old trees growing out of their stumps. Here before the second world war men fell the big trees with whip saws then manuveoured the fallen giants to tidewater where others loaded them on shallow draft ships. The evidence survives here and at the island’s edge where rotting piles from an old wharf stand like drunks waiting for the last bus home.

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