Tidal Table


Tlingit elders teach that when the tide is out, the table is set. This morning, the tide is clearing the table as Aki and I walk toward the mouth of Fish Creek. From the sounds being made by eagles, crows, and gulls, last call is too early. Across Fritz Cove, a noisy cloud of white forms over Mendenhall River as displaced gulls and kittiwakes rise from an inundated sand bar. The cloud rises, falls, swoops, and settles on a still dry section of the wetlands.1

Rain falls through sunshine. In the American South, they would say that the devil must be beating his wife this morning.  A rainbow appears in the skies above Admiralty Island. The wetland bird noise drops. Perhaps they accept the bow as a manifestation of the tide’s promise to withdraw from the wetlands after the crest.

The rainbow has no affect on the crows and eagles. Inside the spruced island near the creek mouth, they bicker like kids on the playground. Bald eagles glide in and out of the forest, some to fish over the cove, others to perch on a mid-channel navigation aid.

3Two eagles, one wet, the other dry, sulk on the point separating fish creek from its pond. A minute earlier, one had crashed, talons first, into the pond water, struggled with something that appeared to pull it underwater. The then wet eagle released its prey and used its wings to lift out of the water for a short flight to the beach. Somewhere in pond, a sore backed king salmon drops into deeper water. .4

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