I picked up two new books today from the library. I finished The Good Shufu, and wanted to use my library card as much as possible before my departure. The Good Shufu wasn't anything mind-blowing, from a writer's perspective, but I found the transition from American culture to Japanese fascinating. Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken and Just Kids by Patti Smith were my choices today. I read the first page of Just Kids and got chills up my spine. I feel like a nerd, but I'm so excited to read these! I usually go to bed around 8:30 or 9pm and like to read for about an hour and a half before falling asleep. I started We Were the MulVaney's by Joyce Carol Oates, but since I own that one, I can take it with me.
My drawing instructor Perrin, has spent time on Lopez Island. She recommended I go out to Iceberg Point, her favorite place. To get to the secret cove wasn't easy she explained. "It's kinda a scramble down a bluff trail", but I've learned that if someone recommends a spot to you, you go.
It proved difficult early on from the road. The area had signs saying it was private and no access. I drove around for a while before parking and deciding to take it on, on foot. The signs were super small, written on driftwood and I couldn't tell where they were pointing. Turns out, I had to enter a residential drive that was blocked off. "This is going to be good" I thought to myself.
And it was. A ten minute hike through the forest lead me, finally, into the openness of the seaside cliffs. I don't know if I will have the chance to return there before I leave on Tuesday, but I hope one day, I can take someone there and share in it's beauty. This area was vastly different than the rain-forest inland. I've never been to New England, but it reminded me of images I've seen. When I got down deep into the cliffs and tide pools, I discovered aquatic life I have only witnessed at the Seattle Aquarium. The rocks were thin and it was like walking on the edges of plates. They were spotted in bird poop and feathers. There were huge collections of petrified wood at the base of cliffs, in grooved pockets.
The trail leading out was packed with ferns, lichen, moss, fir trees, mushrooms, nurse logs and the closer I got to the water, gray rocks began to pop out of the ground, drenched in moss. Last night, I started my book on identifying plants, rocks and wildlife of the pacific northwest, so today, I found myself being able to identify some of the scenery. The tripinnate, tapered edges of lady ferns, European beachgrass, red huckleberry, salal shrub, candy cap mushrooms, Douglas fir, usnea moss, quack grass, nursery logs, some type of wren flying above. I struggled without my book but enjoyed the quiz. I identified the thin, papery leaves as needing large quantities of moisture and then, down in the tide pools, the Dall's acorn barnacles, edible mussels (actual name), and aggregating anemones captivated me with their sticky grips.
Faith tells me that Iceberg Point is home to species of plants that can't be found anywhere else. I believe this. There were several trees, plants and mosses that I could not find in my books and properly identify.
I saw one lone seal swimming along the coast and the bull seaweed resembled dead alligators, drifting singularly out in the small waves.
When I reached the cove, it was a beach of the most smooth, beautiful skipping rocks. The millions of them cradled totem sized, smoothed out trees that created stadium seating for the beach. I collected several rocks and some petrified wood. I plan on writing a poem on the larger piece and giving it to David and Faith. The trees buried half-hazardly beneath the moon stones looked like fallen elephants.
My brain was working at full speed and I quickly typed out a poem that I will address later.
I found one lone Nike (new) shoe on the edge of the cove. I hate to admit it, but that was the most fascinating item throughout the day. I couldn't figure out how it ended up there all alone. I wish I could have come upon me as a stranger, sitting alone on a beautiful beach, staring at a shoe.
Lopez Island is continually surprising me. I never would have guessed it's southern coast would look that way. It is so untouched and pristine. Even the houses seem to be living long, healthy lives. No new mansions. No tourist obsessive economy. It made me sad for my hometown, which was once like Lopez. I watched as a young child, as the island economy began to twist and turn outward, failing to look and admire inwardly, what had made it so desirable in the first place
I hope that Lopez never changes. I hope I have the opportunity to bring someone I love here, one day, and recognize the things I have grown to love - the hidden coves, the wild rabbits, the endless farms and wild apple trees, the way everyone I drive past waves to me. I truly and deeply love this place. I feel a little guilty sharing it here.
So don't say anything.