The wind is gentle today. To the west of me, it's not much more than a whisper. It passes over the dune grasses like a swell on the ocean.
I could turn towards the Pacific Ocean and walk the dunes today, but the flora calls me to the east.
When I reach the windswept Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), and contorted shore pines (Pinus contorta), my eyes slowly botanize the scene.
The sound turns to a whir. The foliage of Pacific rhododendrons (Rhododendron macrophyllum), silk tassels (Garrya elliptica), evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), and salal (Galtheria shallon) gently touch each other in the breeze.
I turn my face upward to feel the coolness of the morning air. A mist settles on my skin, I stand alone in the stillness and let the sensation seep deep into my senses. There is no one here to share this awareness. I'm not lonely - the sound of another voice would shatter this ephemeral mood. I want to live, forever captured in this moment, alone.
A few miles down and across the highway, a Darlingtonia waits for an unsuspecting insect to enter their hood. There in the middle of thousands of cobra lilies, the only sounds wafting through the early morning air come from insects buzzing in distress. Each one desperately searching for a way out of the plant's crazy hood-canopy of mirrors. Finally, the frantic insect falls exhausted, down into the depths of the cobra lily's chamber of death.
That is there, and I am here walking in peace near Sutton Creek. A wall of Rhododendrons looms ahead showing off its spring blossoms covered in a sparkle of dew that gathered together in more significant drops. The salal's white flower urns look like someone dipped them in red paint.
I know that the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) grows some of the world's tallest trees. Not here on the border of the sand dunes, though. The fierce coastal winds keep its growth in check.
I look up into the contorted limbs encrusted with epiphytes -- where the moss, lichen, and licorice ferns (Polypodium scouleri) make a living on these branches. Under the falling mist, the fronds appear to turn their leaves up. Much like I did, capturing the moisture, and basking in the coolness.
I never want to go home.
Rewritten in 2019 from an original travel journal entry in May 28, 2005.