I’m finally sitting down to catalog yesterday’s hike and guess what, it’s snowing again. Stupid rodent just had to see his shadow didn’t he?!?!
The causeway and park entrance were under rehabilitation which temporarily damped my spirits on this crystal clear mid-50s afternoon. Once inside the park and headed up to the quiet calm of the north beach the construction faded from view the road turned muddy going into the lot. Exiting the car I grabbed a water bottle, a small bag and my belt loop and made my way east toward the trail head.
The gray-black sands of the trail meander slightly through an old military battery. The degrading concrete stands among drying dune grasses and browned wildflowers. An occasional fir tree breaks the field of brown with its faded green needles and contrasts the crumbling armaments. There’s something to be said for the reclamation of these bastions of battle by the hand of nature’s ever reviving presence. The sand is soft under foot and the dunes rise up on the north side of the trail as the sea air fills my lungs on each breath. Salty with a slight chill to but no real breeze to speak of makes the walk up between the two dune peaks refreshing the mind and body.
As I crest the small dune the wide open beach is lied out in front of me almost completely deserted with the cobalt blue of the ocean lapping in the distance. The juxtaposition of beach sands still lightly covered with snow from the last fall stirred the mind. Dune grasses are rising up from white windswept tufts rather than the soft brown sands they are accustomed to I headed straight out toward the water several hundred yards away. The serenity of the eastward view is spectacular while the contrast of city rises to the distance on the horizon in the north.
The bellowing low rumble of the surf resonates in my ears and my thoughts drift to how simply complex the world is. The oxymoronic nature by which everything coexists is reflected in the ocean in front of me. The glassy sleek surface turns into the violent breakers undulating against the shore’s edge while the thundering bass of the curl is offset by a crystalline shrill of the foaming caress against the sand. Everything in a subtle balance, like my own life as I contemplate the recent events.
After lingering at the waters edge for a time reviewing my life to the lapping pulses of the foaming waters I turned northward to follow the coast. The sands become scattered shell fragments and driftwood and the sun falls lower in the fading blue sky to the west. I stop on occasion to collect shells among the remnants, a blue-grey streaked clam shell, a black muscle, a pink-purple snail and what ever else catches my glimpse along the way. Among the sea’s jetsam lingers refuse too, a bit of fishing line here, a bottle top there, a candy wrapper along the way. A reminder that humans leave their un-nurturing mark wherever they tred and I am compelled to collect these to in my refuse bag and leave the world better than I once found it. A bit of sea glass represents nature’s attempt at making art out of garbage… this I’ll keep for myself.
The shoreline curves in for a bit and the riptide is stronger here, the waves rougher as they crest and beat upon the sands. The easterly breezes whip a spray off of them making them appear like little geysers erupting from the otherwise calm waters. The distant metropolis grows closer in view and is cast in the mists with a haunting glow appearing serene despite the bustle it entails. As I make my way around the cove each step exposes a different variant of the same scene and the conflict of the ocean’s rise and fall, the cityscape’s serenity and chaos. The serendipity of the view encapsulates my own being.
The sand under my feet changes from firm and waterlogged to soft and supple, sinking in around my boots while the dunes rise to the west closer to me as the shoreline thins. The high leeward dunes curve over, barely holding the dune grasses on them are glowing in the low yellow sun. While moving over the untarnished tan sands I come to the north point of the island which opens into an expansive open beach. Littered with driftwood and abandoned buoys jutting up from the sun drenched sands, casting long irregular shadows over it. The breeze is considerable cooler and stronger here with the dis-rhythmic clank of the channel markers rattling in the distance.
Wandering among the wasteland, weaving in and out of the tide’s leavings, I explore the plight of man’s attempt to own the shoreline. Block tackle here, piling pieces there, a crudely constructed depth marker and, of course, some other remains too which I collected in the bag to make the place that much more hospitable. After making my way to the far side of the tip I cut back across the beach and back around to the eastern shore now heading southward.
Rather than following along the water’s edge I remain along the dune’s this time, careful, of course not to encroach on them or the grasses sprouting from then and the still soft white fleece of snow shrouding them. The walk along the dunes provided glimpses of shore birds sheltering from the cooling winds in the high grasses. Off to the southwest the lighthouse juts up from dunes, its red top contrasting the fading hues of the sky. In the soft sands the prints of small animals are scattered along the grass line.
The setting sun casts an orange glow over the browning grasses making them radiate like little matches poking up from the mounds of sand. The dunes rise and fall along the walk, undulating like the waves