April 12, 2009
A sonata for the senses.
Last week: St. Paul. Today: Seattle. Tomorrow: Nashville. Two weeks later: Los Angeles. Four days after that: New York City. And so on. Yup, anyone taking a gander at my professional e-presence has a good idea of how often I fling myself around the country for All Things Music Related.
But each time I bounce back onto this little rock of an island, I take advantage of what is so unique and exquisite about it: pretty much everything. Woods and sea coexist right next to each other. Yesterday, I took a hike that brought me through dense, old-growth forest, with thick undergrowth of huge ferns, and even thicker moss: almost the same moist environment of our neighboring Olympic Rainforest across the strait, except minus the… rain. After a very steep climb, followed by a teaser of a long descent that felt disheartening, since the point was to go UP to the crest, rather than back DOWN to the beach, the trail finally caused me to huff and puff some more as it roared at a good angle up from the enchanted forest to a sudden expanse of miles and miles of open vista.
Stunning. Those are the Olympics, across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Turning to the left, is the south end of San Juan Island with the little lighthouse at Cattle Point, with the southern mini-isles of Lopez Island beckoning in the distance.
As I stood in the field, my eye still squinting from the contrast from dark forest to bright sunlight, an adult bald eagle swooped from behind, a few yards over my head. I gasped. These are huge birds. What a moment. No time to grab the camera.
But other critters along my path moved a little slower: a young fox, still in his black-coated stage, and an adorable garter snake who, if he didn’t keep moving, was going to become someone’s lunch (no, not mine; I’m not into snushi). Usually I don’t allow myself to interact closely with the animals, but I couldn’t resist gently picking up the little snake and feeling it’s incredibly smooth, soft skin glide through my fingers.
Just look at that cute face! I miss snakes. A piece of trivia about my sordid, wild past: I used to breed pythons as a hobby, and was an active member of the local herpetological society in the San Fernando Valley back in the 80’s. At one point I probably had about 40 different kinds of snakes, ranging from a 19 foot long Burmese (yes, you read that number correctly) and several other Reticulateds and boas, to corn snakes, king snakes and yes, garters like this one. Even a rattlesnake, who was actually very sweet. Plus, a few frog and lizards. I always wanted a turtle; never had one. Yet.
And no, I did not have cats when I had pythons. Bad combo. Particularly for the cats.
So thanks for sharing my walk with me. As the weather warms (IF it ever warms: I think many of us around the country are having a colder than usual spring), there will be a lot more of these, because I plan to stay put much more on this lovely piece of floating heaven. It always pulls at my senses to leave, and it always tugs at my heart in the best way, to return.