Last summer we anchored in a little bay that I’ve considered writing about for a long time. But where to begin? The moss-topped terraces on the cliffs that rise over one side of the bay? Their brilliant reflections in the water below?
The deep green of the firs, cedars and salal along the shoreline, dipped in saltwater at high tides?
Perhaps the sounds are what I find compelling: the soft, steady splash of the waterfall, invisible through the trees…the sweet birdsong from the forest, the piercing chirps of an osprey overhead…the rain that falls gently, nourishing it all.
Or maybe it’s the absence of sounds – or at least, of human-made ones, other than our own voices. We use those sparingly while we’re here, out of reverence for this quiet, unhurried place.
The first time I visited was more than 50 summers ago, when my family happened upon it one evening, looking for an anchorage along an unfamiliar waterway. We stayed a couple of nights, and although it was in many ways an unremarkable place, offering none of the usual attractions for a teenager, it struck a chord in my heart that has resonated for a lifetime.
I’ve been here a half dozen times since then – once even in the dead of winter, in an open skiff. I shiver, remembering that trip.
Most of the places I know along our coast have changed considerably over the last half century, and not for the better. But in this little bay, change is almost imperceptible. Admittedly, there are now a few signs of human habitation – four or five properties with small docks (though seldom anyone in residence). But the terraced cliffs are just as impressive as ever, the green of the forest and water is as deep, and the quiet is every bit as satisfying.