Aki and I stand several meters off the trail like lepers. I say “hello” to the family as they move up the trail but I feel like calling out “unclean.” We reenact the scene every fifteen minutes. A strong ebb tide has exposed the causeway to Shaman Island, which is too narrow to allow us to safely pass the families streaming over it. Meanwhile, nature goes about its business. Songbirds claim nesting space, skunk cabbage stalks rise up from swampy ground. Hummingbirds hover over opening blueberry blossoms as red squirrels prepare for winter. 

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