The boys were the most dapper chaps along the Strait of Juan de Fuca after a visit to the little hat shop in Port Townsend which is a Victorianish town that sticks out into Puget Sound on the end of the Quimper (rhymes with whimper) Peninsula which has a Beaver Valley which is home to an RV graveyard which is indubitably the place to be if in search of mossy doo-hickeys for your Winnebago. Adam contributed half his own, hard-earned substantial savings toward the stylish number which would have looked at home in a London hattery but still it was tricky not flinching when later in the weekend he came dashing to the house proudly sporting a trio of gunkified gull feathers tucked jauntily atop his noggin now dusted with the gray silt transported (swirling in eddies past yawning, frustrated bears and through Goblin Gates) from snowy prominences which loom over the Strait.
Adam and Oliver enjoy being grown-up, all by their ownsomes, on beachcombing forays to the Elwha and they’ve been adopted by the loose clan of a half-dozen harbor seals which have a tendency to show up for early brunch. One evening for a particularly low tide the boys went down to the Elwha as usual to check for eagles or something, I went in the other direction. Having a tendency to not keep my hand out of the cookie jar, I rounded smooth, buff-colored sandstone in and out of lonely, dank coves for close-enough-to-touch views of Striped Peak and the distant boat launch whereabouts Adam and I have explored the small creek flowing into Freshwater Bay from the woods. Dusk caught up with me, I took too long (the cookie jar was empty) and having over-exuberantly walked seven miles earlier in the day in search of snowy Shangri-La I found myself hobbling back to the house over slippery cobbles at first, then even more slippery mounds of kelp and finally cowboying over driftwood logs resting at right angles with the forest, before the beach smoothed to soothingly firm, dark sand for my cement barrels which resembled human legs when I looked down at them (one of those harbor seals could’ve brought me down with a well-timed expert whip of a flipper).
Here was one of the driftwood houses inside of which the boys have conducted various imaginations the past several months. Always I’m reminding them, just like felsenmeer these things aren’t built to code and can teach awfully painful lessons so be safe and not sorry! Friends and acquaintances visiting from other places always exclaim astonished at the remarkable array of wood detritus on our saltwater beaches, both ocean and Sound. It took years before I fully comprehended the critical niche driftwood (the deadly, enormous Leviathans which boggle the imagination but also the trillions of tiny mouse walking sticks) occupies in the Pacific Northwest natural ecosystem.
Finally, I arrived at the house in the dark that evening of the long walk and as Oliver Fern makes much ado about the old cemetery across the lane, I tried my goonie best for a good old-fashioned scare through the living room picture window. Perhaps it was the clatter of dominoes across the dining table but the boys smiled only a little surprised, their faces ruddy from the flickering flames in the corner stove.