The clouds have moved in again and our spectacular view of Mt. Redoubt is hidden. But that is no surprise. Here on the Kenai Peninsula, Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay everything moves! Even the ground moves as viscerally evidenced by the 5.2 earthquake we felt several days ago as we were getting ready to load the skiff for the trip back from Tustumena Lake. Redoubt is one of a chain of Volcanoes rising over 10,000 feet above saltwater, and definitely moving, the last eruption in 1989. We saw it smoking a few days ago.
Erik and Catherine are getting ready for the first commercial salmon opening of the season tomorrow. They will put their boat in the water today when the tide is right. That’s when you do things here, when the tide is right, and not at the time of your own choosing. Everything moves. The difference between low and high tides in a 6 hour period in Cook Inlet can be as much as 35 feet. The second biggest tidal fluctuation in the world. Not just something to think about, but something to feel as a constant presence, this great ebb and flow.
Looking out across Kachemak Bay you see glaciers hanging in the valleys of the Chugach Mountains. Moving… at glacial speed (unfortunately backward) and at a speed undreamed of. We spent a few hours yesterday at a homestead I took care of back in the 70s. There were photos there of the Grewingk Glacier taken from the cabin in the 40’s with the glacier towering over some low ridges, now 70 years later it’s retreated leaving those ridges to be seen in a new and in some ways disturbing light.
Countless streams are moving down from the glaciers, down from the mountains, and at this time hopefully countless salmon begin to move up those streams to spawn. We’ve stopped counting the eagles that move through the skies above and part of all this grandeur. The Solstice approaches in a few days and the sun “moves” not quite but almost in a low circle, this near constant shining urges the plants to move quickly, boldly upward carpeting the earth with an incredible palette of green urge.
We haven’t seen them on this trip but from other times here, we feel the presence of the Beluga and Orca whales moving silently beneath the waters of the Bay.
I pause as I write this, suddenly aware of my breath, which at least for this moment no longer seems like such an insular and personal ebb and flow.