I have not kept well my promise to record the near-daily story of the mouth of the creek. Spring - season of rebirth, rejuvenation, growth and change - has passed me by again, too much of my spare time willingly spent on a softball field or inside a visitor center coaching young players and young rangers on their new positions. I find only moments now to explore and think and craft selfish paragraphs while autumn and winter seem to allow hours.
In spite of little rain and unseasonable warmth, Redwood Creek stubbornly refuses to give up its path to the Pacific. The raging river of mid-winter is now a modest creek turned casually to the south once again. It flows just a few feet across and only inches deeper than me in its deepest channel, easily swimmable had I the courage to strip down and dog paddle across the chilly waters. Someday perhaps, but not today.
A small island bisects the creek not far from its outlet. Small riffles mark the shallowest edges where upstream sand and cobbles collect on the island's northern shoreline, eventually to choke the creek's path to the sea.
Black-capped, orange-billed Caspian terns congregate at the crest of the oceanside sandbar. The first (for me) Heerman's gulls have returned to the beach as well. Pelicans are few and far between this hazy morning. There's not a seal to be found.
Across the mouth someone has erected a twenty foot tall trunk in the sand next to one of the sister rocks. It's a nifty feat of engineering considering the plumb straightness of the pole and the digging and packing of the shifting beach sands necessary to prevent a Pisa-ish lean.
A smokey haze lies across the redwooded hills this morning, the faint smell of smoke mixing with the salty sea air. A sepia fog tints the coastline like a cheesy Photoshop gimmick.
The estuary is perhaps only days away from being a lagoon, soon closed for a couple of months to the sea. The water is calm, clear and green, more fresh than salt water. Cliff swallows who've established dozens of mud nests under the highest eaves of the nearby visitor center swoop in for a quick drink, slaking their thirst before returning to the requisite tasks of fortifying their summer homes and crapping on the increasing multitudes of European visitors unfazed by Humboldt's high gas prices.
I really do need to get out here some morning soon for a quick swim, before the calm waters stagnate with brown foam and seagull shit. Before the locals wake up for their morning walks among the driftwood. Before my coworkers arrive to greet the summer hordes. Before anyone would be around to notice the withering effects of cold water on this sun- and exercise-deprived body. The creek beckons from its sparkling edge. If only I'd brought a towel....