Just off the beach five harlequin ducks parallel the path Aki and I take. They own the water. Nothing else, not boat or bird, whale or sea lion shares the surface with them. Our most colorful local duck up close, from here the harlequins show as dark shapes against the gray sea and ski. This is a scene for capture on black and white film. The same is true of the forest behind up. The yellowing devil club leaves flap around in a building breeze over still red ground hugging sorrel but they can’t distract from the strong lines of old growth trees and witch-like limbs of near naked alders.
On the beach, Aki chases alder leaves, still crisp and brown after a strong gust rips them from their trees. They tumble until an upwelling lifts they just out of her reach, tumble again, then glide out to sea.