“Aki, you can burn some freshly cut wood like birch, but not alder.” The little poodle mix doesn’t need this information but I have to tell someone if just to stem my anger at the yob who severed, with a dull axe, the top half of this lovely beach alder from its gray skinned trunk. Aki often receives lectures inspired by the minor criminals or fools and their active disrespect for the rain forest.
We walk a trail between old growth forest and a stunning line of alders reaching out over normally clean beach gravel. It’s the first day of rain following weeks of sun and almost record heat. Fog fights a losing battle with the rising south wind for control of Lynn Canal, its mass torn to shreds that hang over the water like canon smoke does over a battlefield. All normal on the water. The woods are full of trash and abandoned camping gear now glistening with rain drops. I see the expected — plastic bottles, empty boxes that once contained 24 cans of cheap American beer, hacked trees, crap.
“If they are drawn here for beauty, why do people celebrate Midsommer with thoughtlessness and small acts of vandalism?” Aki pees in sympathy.
Hoping to find nature still preserved on the other side of False Outer Point we round it and see things as they should be. An eagle complains of our presence or maybe at the crows feeding behind him at the stressed campsite. On the water a line of whale watching boats wait like supplicants for humpbacks to surface from their searching dives. Those on aboard the boats may watch a whale slide gracefully to the surface, exhale a sail of vapor, slide under the sea, repeat all that two more times before gracefully extending tail flukes skyward to announce a deep dive.
Being more tortoise with a camera than yob or supplicant I join Aki in a slow motion race with the tide to round a series of sea bluffs before they are made impassable by rising water. We take a trail into calming old growth just after rounding the last bluff. Here high summer is celebrated with an explosion of green slowly being reduced by hungary insects. It brings instant comfort, like a plunge into the cool water of a desert lake. “Relax Aki, yobs can’t or won’t walk this far away from their cars.”