Light and Shadow


Another day of strong light and wind for the rain forest. Aki and I walk a narrow path pounded out of fresh snow by utility workers and dog walkers. The workers use the path to access a power substation. Dog walkers take it to a rocky beach along Stephens’ Passage. We are here for the clarifying light, I mutter but not loud enough for the little dog to hear. She likes to keep it simple.


The retreating tide has revealed much of the stony beach. Thanks to the deep shadows produced by the clarifying light, I could count every rock on the shore, every barnacle and the waves that boom while striking barrier boulders and reefs. But that would only produce sums.


Easily resisting the temptation to count, I lead Aki off the beach and back down the path to where another one breaks off into the woods. No one has used this path since the last snow but it’s easy walking.  I head toward the lazy portion of Peterson Creek. In summer it looks like a New England stream with its deep pools and borders of thick hardwoods. But today little sunlight reaches the stream. What does can’t make the opaque surface ice sparkle. River otters could liven things up. We cross many of their snow slides. Each winds down the bank and onto the creek ice. But the slides aren’t slick from recent use. Even the otters look elsewhere for a little excitement.



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