Saturday, May 5, 2012

To The Water

My route to the water - straight down from my deck.

I try to get into the ocean all year 'round. Usually there's a three-month period (Jan to March) where the weather is so lousy that I start to slack off, and usually only jump in for a quick splash a few times per month. But this time of year, - April and May - are probably the most exciting for me. Every day the water gets a little warmer, and every day I can stay out for longer. Yesterday I pushed it for a little too long and had to spend the rest of the evening wearing three layers to warm back up.


When I first moved to this place, I was a little disappointed that the nearest water was through other peoples' property. I didn't like the idea of sneaking around to get to the water - carefully picking my way along the no-man's land between the properties that lie between myself and the ocean.

As time goes on, however, I'm taking great delight in my trip to the water. Especially as the weather starts to get warm, I know that the properties (which have been mostly vacant all winter long) will soon be occupied, especially on weekends. So I can't just let my mind wander as I stroll to the ocean. I have to always be aware of the spots where I could be visible from a house, and I have to listen for people. On the parts where there's a trail, I'm always watching for people tracks (so far, only deer), and I'm very careful not to leave any tracks myself. I step carefully on rocks and roots, or walk softly by rolling my feet.

The walk has become wonderfully meditative. In stopping to listen for people, I catch the sounds of ravens, eagles and songbirds. In watching the trail for tracks, I see the passage of deer. Picking down a dry ravine under the twisting boughs of giant cedars, up onto a grassy meadow dwarfed by a huge Douglas Fir, down over a cascade of moss-covered rocks, taking shelter under an Arbutus for one final careful look at the most exposed part of my trip, where I climb down a big rock to a sheltered nook at the water.

My favorite time to swim is sunset, which is perfect because the fading light is easy to hide in and people start heading inside. I suppose that's one reason why the animals are so active at sunset as well - there's still light to see, but it's easier to hide from predators. I always see a lot more wildlife at sunset.

It will be interesting when the water is warm enough for me to swim way out in the cove. People will be able to see me swimming from their houses, so I'll have to be tricky like an otter when I come back in, so they can't tell where my beaching-spot is.

No comments:

Post a Comment