Waiting Out the Tide


Aki sighs. We are standing on a tiny beach waiting for the receding tide to open up a passage around False Outer Point. Small waves weakened by an offshore reef collapse at our feet. Over a hundred surf scoters have formed a raft to our right. But Aki can’t see or smell them.


I’m content to wait out the tide, listening to the waves and watching gulls cruise past on the gentle wind. It’s 50 degrees F. and the wind warms rather than chills. I am fine. Then Aki signs again.


Since she usually wins these fights, I backtrack from the point to a trail that leads over the headland. We climb up and over it and drop down onto another beach sealed off by the tide. Scoters, in groups of 30 or 40 birds curl around the point and fly in long lines across our horizon. Knowing that Aki lacks the patience to wait out the tide, we climb back over the headland rather than hang tough until the path around the point dries out.


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