We stand on the causeway edge, two guys in sensible rain gear, not caring how clumsy we look compared to the sleek scoters and ducks that float just offshore.
“You been out to Shaman Island today?”
“No, I come down here on a good low tide, work over to the point and back before the tides floods in. Use to have coffee with Mr. ______ when he had a cabin over there.”
He bends down to pet Aki, sliding his other hand down the walking stick he had just carved from alder wood. When he rights himself, I can see that salt spray had reddened the whites of his eyes.
“It was low tide at 8:30 so she will be smoking in now to cover this (pointing to the causeway) soon.”
The rock and sand path to Shaman Island looks to be a good three feet out of the water so I decided to sneak over and back before the tide covers it.
The wind sweeps across the causeway, holding Aki’s windward earflap straight up in the air. Every few steps she stops and shakes her head to return the flap to its proper place. The wind and Aki continue the battle until we reach Shaman Island where a single American Robin feeds on a patch of green grass. We have seen and heard other proofs of spring on the walk like varied thrust song and swollen buds on the blue berry brush. But this robin, if it sang, could make me believe the calendar and its assertion that winter is over. It stays silent.
In minutes we need to start back across the causeway. As predicted, the tide is smoking in. Small fingers of water pulse and retreat beneath our feet as we cross over to safety. When we reach higher ground I hear eagle complaints and see two mature bald eagles, white heads and tails book ending chestnut bodies, glide together and apart, together and apart, like flirts dancing in the wind. If he had not left, the man with red-rimmed eye might have told me that bald eagles mate for life and that these a the mating mood.