Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seeking shelter

Gray weekend. Steady rain, lazy to the last minute, and then, Sunday morning, just as three days of wind and rain strengthened to a howling peak, I went for a ride. Booties and a fleece hat in August, and after the precipitation soaked through, water streamed down my cheeks and into my mouth. It tasted familiar. Like salt and melon-cucumber shampoo, with hints of peat moss and rotting salmon. The taste of early fall.

Low tide. Chum salmon flopped around in a few inches of water at the mouth of Fish Creek, their bodies bleached and flaking, their mouths gaped and gulping at the soaked air. The rest of their lives could probably be measured in minutes, but by nature's cruel design they had already been dead for a while, struggling mere feet from the ocean they were born to escape. I wondered what their offspring would find when they returned here. Would they see the same dead end?

Heavy fog. Fishing boats flickered in and out of the clouds like ghosts in a postmortem search for kings. Rain pattered on the hidden surface of the ocean. A foghorn blew from sources unknown. The little boats circled the quiet chaos, where sky and water melted together in a gray mass, without even a faint line to draw the horizon. The ships could have been flying, but the kings were buried deep.

Rainforest Trail. I disappeared beneath the canopy where raindrops echoed but didn't fall. Spindly spruce trees dressed in moss towered over an explosion of devil's club, fully developed and blazing with red berries, the kind that develop just before the yellow wither of fall. The front wheel dipped down a narrow strip of gravel. I took in gulps of gravity as my body reflexively pendulated through a maze of sharp turns. The forest spit me full-speed onto the beach, with the bike clattering over a carpet of broken shells, and ghost boats skimming the fog, and still-alive salmon leaping toward the sky. Before I could even slow down, the trail turned back into the dark and sheltered woods, and a steep, winding climb, where gulps of gravity turned into gasps of air.

Within minutes, I was back to where I started, the crest of a mile-long loop. So I did the only thing I could do to stay out of the rain - I continued straight and circled, again and again.


  1. Hemingway ring to this post-nice descriptions.

  2. Hmm...verication word for this comment is "paling"...wonder if that is a term you use regarding Palin? ;-)

    Poetic and descriptive, love the words and style. Curious if you have or have considered a helmet cam?

  3. One of my favorite posts of yours. Thanks.

  4. Henmingway, I don't think so. This has more of a Kerouac flavor, but what's with all the punctuation?

    Yr Pal, Dr C

  5. Fishing boats flickered in and out of the clouds like ghosts in a postmortem search for kings.

    No more kings in this world, lots of jesters still.

  6. This is too eloquent and abstract to be compared to Kerouac. He was a down and dirty writer (although, eloquent at times), but not primarily. Hemingway is a closer feel but still not quite there. I think it’s very J. Homer.

  7. I agree - very J. Homer - the photograph is intense. Love your stuff. Creativity certainly benefits from internal conflict

  8. Do you play with the words in your mind whilst you ride along taking in the trail.


    What is a GULP OF GRAVITY?

    Really nice post

  9. Hmm, you know what...I'm finally going to buy a bike rack for my mountain bike tomorrow.

    Thank you.

  10. really like the post...

    makes me want to go ride!

  11. Thank you, everyone. Regarding the "gravity gulps," every so often I like to bend conventional pairings with adjectives and adverbs and see if it flies.

    The Rainforest Trail is my favorite to ride in the rain. It is literally a mile loop, with probably about 100 feet of descending/climbing. It's steep, but smooth and the hairpins are negotiable. I could circle it a dozen times, maybe more, although I've never done more than eight. On the return ride, I couldn't help but compare myself to the boats trolling in circles and the returning salmon ... the endless cycle. So I guess I did compose this in my head as I rode home.

  12. it's really a eloquent piture which shows green environment.


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  13. Very poetic, Jill. You really have a way with words. And pictures, too. The power of the combined imagery, multiplied by the force of first-person account... amazing.

    Just don't let it all get into your head, ok ? ;)


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