Yesterday there were deer tracks at the base of our path to the beach. This morning a coyote had passed by. We went out a bit late, and I did not put up my hair or even put on a hat because it wasn’t cold or windy, just cooler and damp the way we like it. I unzipped my jacket on the way north because the rising breeze hit my back and I was warm. By the time I thought I should put up my hood, it was already wet inside. I figured that was okay. I hadn’t worn the jacket to keep warm but because it was wet.
As a rule, we do not mind the wet. If we minded we would live someplace else.
We walked for an hour, north and then back south. On our way north, Gary mostly followed the tracks of the coyote on the sand, and I mostly walked in the basalt rubble lining the shore. The tide came right up over the sand and several feet into the rocks last night. I found plastic bits and bobs and leftovers from fireworks, a piece of quartz, a crumb of sand-buffed green glass, and a shell. On the way home, we walked with Tammy. She was dressed for weather—hood, rubber boots—though she’d decided it wasn’t worth digging out her rainproof pants. Like my hair, her pants were drenched by then.
Recently, juvenile gulls have been following me. One trailed me up and down the sand and over the rocks for a quarter mile the other day. I told him that was not wise. Humans are not to be trusted, and I would not feed him even if I had anything in my pockets he could eat. Yesterday, one came quite close, stood no more than four feet away and waited for a long time for me to do something. What?
There are too many dead birds on the beach, it seems to me. We always see one or two when we walk a few miles. This time of year the new seabirds who have failed to learn their survival skills start showing up, juveniles who have starved or done something stupid. Fully grown juveniles hunker down and call weep-weep at their mothers, who are done feeding them. After the first big storm or a crazy tide, youngsters are swept off Castle Rock and wash up onshore. This morning we saw a dead bird every five to fifteen yards, and that is not typical for late September or really at any time. We haven’t had a storm and many of the dead are adults. Three banded birds in as many yards—a seagull and two cormorants. Gary says the banding may have been enough to stress them, and there is no typical, no normal anymore.
Climate change has killed billions of birds, and millions of species are already lost or threatened.
But this morning we came home dripping and I sat comfortably watching the pale sky dissolve into pale sea. The osprey was fishing, the tide rushed in, waves swept across the sand, which has not begun moving back out into offshore bars.
I have finished a third quilt earlier than I expected (the last four rows of stitching completed Tuesday evening instead of Friday). Late next week I will carry it to Linda, or whenever she’s finished the two I pieced in August.
Yesterday I cleared out my work space, sweeping my work table, sorting colors into warm and cool and black&white bins, and finding storage for miscellaneous sewing and knitting tools and notions. The floor seems oddly empty without fabric spread out in patterns. The scraps from stitching and trimming—trimmed threads and bits of fabric less than an inch wide—made a heap on my work table. I dug through the little pile once more and then tossed it into a waste basket. I hope Gary might pluck out bits and pieces to save for birds’ nest-building in the spring. If we composted, they could go in as “carbon” I think.
The season is changing, weather and focus. There was Open House at the high school last evening, but we were at a restaurant visiting with mostly-retired school employees. Are you enjoying retirement? Some confess to having a hard time, missing students and the work. Some are simply relieved to stop. A friend in the former group is in the hospital. After decades of deep involvement and commitment to teaching, the way we are let go can seem rather heartless. And the way those with social connections are privileged and allowed to continue on their own terms can seem unfair. Six months out, I am still uncertain where I stand.
My kitchen floor is cleaner than it’s been in almost thirty years.
Change is inevitable. Not all of it is good. Not all bad.