Aki stares at me as we share this North Douglas Island beach. She wants someone to throw her orange Frisbee but it is not here. There are lots of flat rocks that one her humans is very adept at skimming over the water. We have perfect conditions for it—flat calm water pushed high onto the beach by a solstice high tide. When the rock skimmer was a toddler, Ester, a Tlingit elder told me that children should not skim rocks because the ocean, like all things deserve the respect due to those with souls. But I couldn’t resist the chance to teach my child how to hold a flat rock and fling it across the sea. I never wanted to prevent her from enjoying the simple game.
After my daughter runs out of good skimmers, a young seal lifts its head so that only its eyes are above the water. It’s close in, closer to the beach than I have ever seen a seal. It rises up a bit higher when we wish it a merry Christmas and then disappears beneath the waters of an ocean wave free to the horizon. Ester, was that you?