Wednesday, December 5, 2007

salt creek cove

Tucked into a cove hidden in northern Washington, is a small island. My friends and I were lucky that day to have arrived at a time when the sun was in our eyes, casting mystical shadows about. This place is heaven...chilly winds that slap the blood into your cheeks, promontories to creep out onto carefully so as to not take a misstep and fall into a tide pool in which a myriad sea life abounds, somewhat remote to human beings not willing to leave their vehicles. Nearby this island is a row of old military bunkers, where once firearms were kept ready to be passed out. They've taken some of the old nuclear warhead shells off the nub and made barricades out of them to mark the walls. Graffiti lines the inner concrete walls inside the room off to the right in one, and left in another; walking through with the sun going down, you can't help but imagine a ghostie or a crazed ax man jumping out from the shadows with a distorted grin on his face, eager to cleave your flesh a disservice.

I'm not anxious to leave this state just yet. Only recently have I been exploring outdoors and finding such tremendous beauty that I'll never find anywhere makes the task of leaving doubly difficult. I drove home last weekend to take the LSAT and broke down crying when faced with the craggy, scraggy, shrubby plains where I grew up. The reality is, I'll never come back if I can help it. This place reminds me of everything I've tried to overcome. But when I exit the house in my hiking boots intent on sights unseen--to me--I always come home a changed woman, having seen the things that I've seen. I've looked across the Hood Canal, across the Puget Sound, past Bainbridge Island, and I've seen Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond...from the top of a mountain, surrounded by breathtaking snow, with my husband and my dog panting next to me. I saw past Seattle and saw, from north to south, the Cascade range, interrupted by the sharp peaks of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. How could you hold hands with someone you love and realize that you're the only humans on the mountain, and not return home changed? How can you stagger down the mountain with only a headlamp, in the dark, over icy pitches, without reassessing your internal status?

The truth is, Washington has changed me, and what I have to remember it by are the best of memories, the times when I've gone out and changed me.

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