26 October 2007

Monday morning at the mouth of the creek

17September2007, Monday morning, 8-9am:
Driving across Freshwater Spit this morning, I knew I was gonna have to stop and take a walk before going off to do any real work. It was just before 8am. The sky a glorious shade of blue. The white lines of cresting Pacific waves outlined the silver edges of the beach for miles northward. With the window half down, cool wind in my hair, thoughts of pending projects disappeared. I unlocked the gate, then locked it behind me so I wouldn't have to deal with anyone else for a while. Without even a stop to say hi to our building maintenance lady, I strode out to the beach, binocs, journal and camera in my pockets. Almost immediately, I discovered the dead battery on the camera so y'all will have to put up with poorly described beach scenes of this morning.

It is absolutely clear this morning. A distant bank of clouds lies across the horizon, miles away and well behind Redding Rock. In the east, the rising sun highlights a light haze at the top of the redwood covered hills. A sparkling golden stripe decorates the calm green waters of the estuary.

A few gulls, mostly western gulls, stand and watch the waves and the horizon much as I do. Another small gathering hangs out at the edge of the estuary, while a couple more wander back and forth across the high point of sand, mingling with both groups.

The surf is stunning this early morning. Taller than usual waves, maybe 8 feet high, meet the sand in calm, lazy rolls. During the hour, there are periods of more intense wave activity, maybe four minutes apart, when higher, thicker, and more erratic series of waves loudly announce their arrival. Sudden smacks of water upon water snap me out of moments of quiet meditative calm, reminding me, "Don't get too lost in your own head, son. There's something much bigger here."

Only a single pair of pelicans appear this hour. They slip past up high, then turn back around, perhaps a quarter mile down the beach, returning low over the slipping surf.

A lone seal pops out of the surf, just once, to make sure I'm staying on the beach.

A pair of early morning walkers, at the moment a distant silhouette, remind me that I can't have the beach all to myself. Their pending interruption also reminds me that I have to at least pretend that I'm working. The brain kicks in, "Look busy. They're getting close." So I sit and write in this journal vainly trying to look pensive and intelligent.

It's surprising how muffled the surf sounds are on the creek side of the sand spit.

Two birds of note. In the bushes behind the office and on a few of the taller driftwood branches, a small bird flits back and forth. A black, slightly crested head over a dark gray body. The body is stout. Narrow black beak and long tail. Mr Sibley says it's a black phoebe.

On the ocean, dipping in and out of the waves, fishing on his own, a solitary seabird. Looks enough not like a murre to make me question his/her ID. Reminiscent of a common murre, but lighter brown with white belly. Possibly a pacific loon, but then again, maybe an immature murre. Sounds like a good excuse to come back again tomorrow morning, eh?

Hasta la proxima.

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