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.

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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.

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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.

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