Thursday, January 8, 2009

Keep a keen sense of observation … NOTICE

Late yesterday afternoon after a full day of writing I bundled myself in all the clothes I have to keep me warm and dry. "I'm going to the water, honey," I told Pete. It was a blustery day, the air filled with damp, the rain thick. There are two different beach walks I love to take. Both of them edge the same shore of Puget Sound, and yet the seascapes and exposure to the elements are different. The beach walk along Lincoln Park offers three paths: an asphalt road, a grassy path and the gray sand-pebble/rock shore line if the tide is not at full flood. My other favorite walk is just slightly north of Lincoln Park and is a much shorter walk. Like Lincoln Park though, it offers options to a walker or beach comber. The sidewalk stretches along a railed bulkhead on the south end of Alkai Beach in West Seattle. Below the bulkhead though is the rocky shore and shelf of tide pools where the crows, shore birds and wintering ducks, geese and resident sea gulls hang out. That is a place where water life happens with abandon.

I reached the railed bulkhead shortly before 3pm in the afternoon. The wind was blowing in from the south. The water churned dull ... a color I'm not sure of: green-blue-gray? The heavens were emptying and the air was fresh. I wore two hats, long underwear, a sweat shirt, tights, my winter coat, gloves, wool socks and my trusty boots. Once out of Scout, I felt the sharp wind, which I had to admit and appreciate, was not icy. After 20 degree December, the nearly 50 degrees was almost comfortable. Is this acclimating? Probably. As soon as I stepped onto the sidewalk I hear it. A low constant tone sang in the wind. Adjusting to the outside air I simply noticed the tone, and felt the tone change, the sound was constant and yet it had a melody. As I walked I looked out across the rain-blown water. Ferry horn? My head was clearing from the muddle it accumulates when I am not able to exchange inside-only air with the ions of a fresh outing. As I stretched my legs, I lost myself in the breathing of that glorious, rich fresh air.

There was a little bit of rock beach shoreline below I considered going down to be with it, walk it. Decades earlier when I lived along the water in Mukilteo, the shoreline of Puget Sound was home. I made the adjustment away from Hawaiian Island life living along Puget Sound. One of the sea truths reinforced by living near ocean is to respect her power. There was not enough shoreline to walk without danger of a rogue wave. I wasn't so much concerned a wave would pull me into the water, as much as knowing the floating logs and debris was more dangerous if churned up. The sidewalk was close enough to inhale beautiful air, and the mournful melody of those tones kept me company. Finally I connected with the source of that strangely beautiful sound. The railings stretched along the sidewalk are pipe, small holes allow the wind to play the pipes like so many giant tin whistles. It was a Gaelic concert free for the noticing, and I had a front seat. Blessed with the opportunity to notice the gods gave me time to clear my head, and refresh body and soul.

Malama pono, Mokihana

Here is a link to a wonderful post on the barometic character of the body. It's a lovely way to ponder the exquisite knowledge our body always knows. Kerry from Lemon-aide, thank you for this.