This bay has been an important refuge for our family the past several years, it’s one of those quiet sort of places that’s perfect for homebodies who need some kind of adventure in their lives but not too much. Any extremely satisfying success through the viewfinder here has eluded me over time, it doesn’t matter whether it has been fair weather, bad storms, low tide or high tide. The adjoining estuary has become an increasing focus of my interest and I took this a couple Saturday nights ago when we were leaving which was a good thing because the local cabin-dwellers were firing up their wood stoves altogether at once and smoky vapor drifted quite unhealthily over the beach, you can kind of see it here. Smells good, though. The boys and their mother were ambling only very slowly back to the trailhead for my benefit as I was shooting and soon I found myself accompanied by a young man with surfboard, his wetsuit was peeled like a banana awkwardly down his body and his face mostly hid under a hoodie with the exception of long, wet hair and quite a prodigious, extremely red nose and he was squeaking funny in a pair of oversized rubber boots not to mention shivering like crazy in the autumn chill. He was overcome by the serenity of this backwater just like me I guess and stopped to admire the peacefulness at dusk.
Ordinarily I might’ve found myself a little annoyed at such an intrusion except I’d been admiring him all afternoon out on the water, he was an exceedingly confident boarder and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone out here ride with such grace for so long. The usual misanthropic side of myself felt somewhat chastened as he turned out to be a nice fellow, we chatted and I would learn he was born and raised only a few miles from here. At any rate, I thought maybe the silvery tin foil of foreground here could be interesting as a monochrome study.
Adam left Animal Farm laying about this week after he finished and Oliver Fern picked it up imagining it would be another sort of Charlotte’s Web. Was he ever disappointed.
This year I stayed at the house for Halloween to read by my quiet lonesome. The pleasant sounds of neighbors echoed across the hillside but no one really trick or treats on our street because it’s too steep. Instead, everyone heads up to the very grand, decked-out haunted houses between St. Joseph Parish and 15th Avenue East where the people with old money (along with the nouveau riche dot-commers) throw rollicking good block parties (they hand out the same bad candy as everyone else). Adam spent the evening trick or treating with a couple of friends, up there. Oliver Fern wanted me to stay home so he could have his mother all to himself, goodness gracious was I ever happy to oblige as I’m not much of a Halloween enthusiast (although I enjoy helping the boys brainstorm their costumes into being and they have me to thank for their jack o’ lantern-carving skills). When everyone got home later it was fun hearing stories about various school chums or neighbors they’d run into. Oliver even trick or treated at his first grade teacher’s house, her husband was a fine ballplayer for the Seattle Mariners, the only Major League Baseball team to never reach the World Series (though I really believe the Expos should be included in that category no matter what anyone says which is the inevitable can of worms debate-expanderizer).
This is a view from high subalpine in the Olympics, my original intention was to share this ghostly scene on Halloween night by itself and shut my overactive bear-trap for a change but then it didn’t set right somehow to be impugning the workings of Mother Nature for nothing else but a clash of air temperatures yet certain polls regularly demonstrate half of Americans believe ghosts and angels are real but I’m not getting into the finer points of the matter. Let me leave you with this, Adam came up here with me, the two of us walked many miles that day and climbed the equivalent of a thousand Empire State Buildings, not once did he let on about being in any sort of misery. Until the way down, that is. Now then we joined forces in that department. What a grand suffering it was, my oldest he really is an angel.
We had a string of awfully wet weather last week in Seattle and some of my only pictures were from shelter of the front porch, do those still count? Dunno why but I’ve always had a particular fondness for the perspective across the neighbor’s dormer, the arts-and-crafts rusticity of the architecture is like a portal to those strange times when horses were raced in the Arboretum and a trestle bridge loomed over what is now Washington Park Playfield. When I took this the valley was positively peak for color but that sure changed fast after a woolly night. Still pretty, though.
Speaking of which, last night we went to gather up the pumpkins off the back porch, for carving. They’d been sitting out there for a couple weeks and we discovered the biggest gourd rotted straight through! The stem and crown pulled right off like a prank or Pepsi pull-tab, either way that thing had filled by smooshy osmosis with darn-near three quarts of water but Adam made out all right and enthusiastically carved what was left. Meanwhile, Oliver Fern made his first very own jack o’ lanterns, ever. He did terrific! And tonight he lost his second front baby tooth in five days. He’s going to make a great pirate tomorrow night but it would’ve been better with that one tooth still dangling on, haha!
The boys and I toured the Burke Museum (of Natural History and Culture) for a couple of hours Sunday morning, our first visit since it reopened in the brand new space which is rustic modern on the outside while the inside resembles several intramural racquetball courts stacked on top of each other with floating stairs and towering walls but the museum as a whole is quite impressive, the “public” laboratories are a trend I’m glad the Burke has adopted. There was something unsettling to both Adam and Oliver Fern about touching any number of taxidermied flying squirrels neatly displayed about the table featuring a wide array of sizes and shapes of those soaring, sorta cute critters but no amount of cajoling by the curator could cure their queasiness. On the other hand, they watched rapt with attention through plate glass window as a laboratory preparator concentrated hard on viscera and bone of the Komodo dragon which lay supine on the metal table, having died of old age after residency at the Woodland Park Zoo (that’s one mystery finally solved for the boys, frustrated the past couple years at apparent reptilian aloofness). Particularly appreciated by Oliver Fern this visit was the giant ground sloth fossil which was found during construction of Sea-Tac International Airport (we’ll never look at the B gates the same) and that was just about all she wrote for our terribly aching feet on the marbly cement museum floors.
This scene is from last month when the boys and I spent a Saturday afternoon on the Whulge for a minus tide, it was far quieter than normal here I think maybe because everyone thought it would rain. After mild protesting (from me) instead of the trail to the lighthouse we took the usual shortcut down the south bluff, an extraordinarily steep descent through the forest and the night before it rained quite heavily so the Lawton Clay under our feet gurgled like the Bog of Eternal Stench. The hillside above this beach has become so saturated in places with seeps and rivulets of water that encampments and other grimy lean-tos show evidence of recent abandonment, we would examine the usual moldy sofa cushions, broken poly-vinyl beach chairs and butt-beer cans sitting in the middle of running water. The boys know they would never enter this woods without an adult (whether that risk is greater of being subsumed by the hillside or harassed by someone lurking in the thickets is a measure for some debate). At any rate, the pictures I took this day are brought to mind after our visit to the Burke Museum. It’s here on the Sound where the dilly-dallier can observe one of the region’s preeminent fascinating geologic cross-sections related to the Puget lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet which will among other things, explain why riding a bicycle across the city requires strategic planning or steely determination. These boats and Bainbridge Island (with the Olympic Mountain range shrouded in clouds) looked close enough to touch. We spent several hours whiling away the time and golly did Adam ever find a big kelp crab!