Monday, November 30, 2009

The surge.

Indian Point is past Fall now. The mossy rocks and undergrowth of salal shine vivid green in the wet, and the grey even light shines purely into places it hasn`t visited since the new Spring leaves of maples cast them into shadow. Those leaves are now plastered to the muddy ground except where torrents of water have swept the trails clear. It is now a time that is past regret for summer, well past, and we are launched into the winter rains that are themselves a dark reflection of summer`s drought. It feels good to be committed to action at last, immersed in the dark, stormy season of winter.

Walking along the cliff trail, stepping carefully over granite bones, I hear the now calm grey sea quietly surging against the fine gravel of the first beach. Is it breathing or a heartbeat? I cannot decide and try to avoid focussing on its insistent rhythm lest my own breath, my own heart, should synchronize and I be swept away. In this solemn season that does not seem improbable now that dark winter spirits have reclaimed the land and sea.

The beach itself has changed since the 60 knot south-easter of last week reshaped it. Old familiar logs are gone or flipped over into new configurations, the stream that slides out of the undergrowth now drops three feet over a new gravel bank and one must step carefully on slippery lumps of pulverized driftwood to get across more or less dry shod. Deep in the darkest part of the forest all is silent and sodden. A white shrine of shells on a stump has been here for years, constantly renewed: it is a naturally spooky place. The beat of the sea filters faintly through the trees to give this place a heart as well. I would rather it was a heart than feel it was something invisible and very big breathing down my neck. I quickly step out of the trees and back into the light.

The point itself is littered in logs and finely ground driftwood mixed with seaweed and flotsam. Left by the last high tide, a bright plastic bottle and a large square of blue foam pretend to be a natural part of the scene. In a way they are, as they swish in the backwash or rest awkwardly high up on the rocks. They will soon move along to other shores or stay and be ground up by waves and gravel.

Ahhhh! The surge breathes again, trying to catch me unawares. It is high time I hiked back out of here, before I am myself ground up fine and spread out along the shore.

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