Empty Wetlands

grassA down channel wind threatens to sweep Aki and I off the wetlands. I wonder if it blew off all the birds. Only a flyby of gulls provides evidence of life on the grasslands. We move to a broad expanse of compact sand exposed by the low tide. With the sea in retreat, we could walk on it to North Douglas Island without getting too wet. But it is only regrouping. In eight hours, 12 feet of water will cover where we stand.

Earlier in the day, a lone canine walked over the sand to a shallow depression now dotted by a series of recently dug holes. He moved in a straight line like most wild animals while domestic dogs leave behind a squiggly track line. I don’t see any human prints. Was the track layer a coyote hunting for clams? Is the wild dog hunkered down in the spruce on a nearby spruce-topped island? It’s probably on Douglass Island. Aki trots off in that direction and seems disappointed when I call her back.


A raven clucks and dives on Aki after we return to the grasslands. While she chases after the tease, I find three rare flashes of color on the dun color wetlands—a bouquet of bright yellow shotgun shells. Now empty of shot and powder, they mimic the tight swirls of yellow pedals pushed up through spring snow by skunk cabbage plants. But the shells have no future and I wonder if they ended the future of some of the wetland ducks.

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