Wind Song

Ken Cooper, Cultural Consultant for Fish, Timber and Wildlife of the Lummi Tribe of Washington state, listens to the "trees as they talk to one another, the songs in the wind, the stories of the pathway that started a long time ago…When I come back I play the song that I hear floating on the wind and play the feeling that I hear coming out of those trees that are pained, that know they’re going to be cut down. They do talk. They have a lot to teach us. Anybody who goes in the mountains and sees beauty has a form of healing."

Continue reading Wind Song

Not Man Apart

A few days respite from work before beginning the commute from Kingston to the Seattle waterfront onboard one of the new Mosquito fleet. This morning I sat on a park bench overlooking the Kingston marina drinking a damnably expensive cup of coffee beneath a sky obscured by high cloud. The water of Appletree Cove was so still that concentric ripples left by a gull taking flight could be seen half way to the far shore. I listened to the high, distant drone of a float plane, the twitter of swallows returned from the south, the irritated cackle of crows (crows seem always irritated), and the sound of gulls squabbling over some scrap of food or place to stand.

Continue reading Not Man Apart

Makah Whalers

Since before the birth of Christ, perhaps before even
the birth of the Roman empire that crucified Christ, the Makah have been
hunting gray whales off the pitch of Cape Flattery. They hunted in open boats
carved from cedar trees, with floats made from seal guts and lines made from kelp and harpoons tipped with muscle shells. They hunted whales weighing 40
tons with flukes that spanned 10 feet on a coast that even now invites
shipwreck. The hunting of whales defined the Makah as a people, as a culture,
and as the finest small boat seaman on this continent.

Continue reading Makah Whalers

Jesus Was A Sailor

It’s early in the morning, hours before false dawn. A full moon streams a wake of light across the landscape – dead grass and a split rail fence, the dark copse of conifers standing in the wetlands, and the stump of an old madrone bleached the color of bone. It’s silent except for an occasional car rushing for an early ferry, the distant sound of tires on pavement like the chant of Tibetan monks. This is the holy hour of darkness before the day begins.

Continue reading Jesus Was A Sailor

Needful Ghosts

I’ve been thinking about the ruined fence that frames the far side of Lindvog Road, the planked fence made from trees milled where they were felled. The trees were small, too small for serviceable lumber, just large enough to make a fence slat. Some of the planks in the fence were the entire width of the tree. Their edges undulate with the natural contour of the tree trunk. Bark still clings to them like a thick skin.

Continue reading Needful Ghosts

"To see! To see! -that is the craving of the sailor, as of the rest of blind humanity."