We are at one of Aki’s favorite beaches to work, not play. I want to harvest the lines of severed bladder weed (a form of seaweed) before they are carried away by an impending storm. For me this gathering of this wrack is a contemplative, rather than boring task. I lift a handful of the fresh-sea smelling stuff off the gravel, remove eagle feathers, salmon bones and other things wrapped in it by the tide, and drop it into a five gallon plastic bucket.
When five buckets are filled, Aki and climb a headland and drop onto the backside of False Outer Point. Three eagles fly out over our heads just as a raft of surf scoters tighten into a raft just off shore. I hear the chuffing exhales of sea lions but can’t spot them breaking the grey surface of the water. A thin cloud of eagles and gulls forms a quarter mile offshore as they do when a sea lion breaks the surface with a salmon in its mouth. The birds hope to fatten for winter on the scraps left by the always-messing eater. It’s as much a sign of fall as my five buckets full of wrack.