abbey island to the hoh river
The boys were playing in a cubbyhole of interesting driftwood where a trickling creek braided into algebraic, labyrinth channels through still-wet sand of ebbtide. The beach was wide as a football field so we didn’t worry about them too much and their mother and I walked ahead for quite some time talking but finally she wanted to stop, to find a piece of her own driftwood to relax against and finish a stubborn novel. Despite feeling a tad woozy from a mild virus earlier in the week, I continued because the lure of the Hoh River three miles to the north was strong, nothing sounded more intriguing than to admire the river up close, marvel at the blue-green glacier water spilling into the Pacific.
The walking was remarkably pleasant on firm sand at surf’s edge. Sometimes, in the pursuit of exploring those jumbled stacks of driftwood for hidden treasure, I’d climb steep banks of cobbles which formed a bench below the hundred foot-high forest bluffs. There was no one else around (some sort of feat hereabouts for a holiday weekend) until the mouth of the river, where a posse of lazing sea lions, perhaps seventy to a hundred feet offshore, studied a leathery net fisherman hard at work. Five bored-looking bloodhounds guarding buckets higher up on the beach bounded over to me with wagging tails and sloppy sweet kisses for my hands. The fisherman smiled from the waist-high surf, he was working hard, I continued politely on my way choosing not to tarry long as usual at the splendid confluence of river and ocean, so good did it feel engaging the walking feet.
Later, upon my return south, the boys and I played Driftwood Ball utilizing a perfectly round piece of driftwood and little orange rubber ball (mistaken at first for an impossibly-adrift baby tomato) found in detritus. Other wanderings lead us south of Abbey Island to additional quiet places (caves, eagles) away from the hubbub where tannin-rich Cedar Creek empties to stunning nearshore rock formations which understandably serve as people magnets.
Along with sea glass, we discovered a long-lost, sturdy camera blanketed in kelp and connoisseurs of found objects that we are, this was a delightful find. The body was mostly well-preserved plastic but rust seeped out the guts of the thing, the LCD screen on the back was a shattered spider web and the aperture was stuck half open like a tired eye. Adam has fingers like a Swiss army knife, he pried a crusty hatch open revealing a surprisingly well-preserved memory card (the battery was gone, polluted into the ocean). We pondered the stories which may be contained inside while feeling wistful for whomever lost this photographic record. Adam is youthfully optimistic about the stories but it’s highly doubtful the card is readable, anymore. Probably it’ll end up the story itself, perched upon the shelf with our sand dollars, plastic mermaids, rusty screws, and bobbers.
Coastal indigenous peoples used the air bladders (pneumatocysts) from kelp such as the one you see above for dolls and also fashioned fishing line out of the stipes (the long tube-like structure connected to the bladder). Oftentimes, the boys and I enjoy playfully spinning ourselves about with one of these not unlike a human-helicopter rotor so as to clobber anyone within a nearby radius with the soggiest, putridest pile of sand fleas, brine and goopiness that you can imagine. I’m all too proud passing old-fashioned foolishness down to the younger generation.