In the past four months I feel that I have become friends with this beach. I walk it often, camera in hand. It is my sacred honour to capture not only the evident beauty of this place, but also often overlooked beauty. I try to find a way to tell a beautiful story even of that which would seem otherwise – death, loss.
The beach is different every day – tides, the coming and going of ocean life such as crabs and seaweed, the plants on the shore cycling through the micro seasons, sun rise, sun set, bright sun, rain, clouds, blue sky. I have sunset pictures from many days, shot within a 20 foot span, and each is different.
Often I walk with camera in one hand and a bag in the other picking up the debris left behind by other visitors. While this stretch of beach is only modestly visited by people, our presence is obvious in the garbage left behind. I’ve picked bags of cans, alcohol bottles, a deck of playing cards scattered across the seaweed, plastic, broken items and a myriad of other human made stuff. Toys in good condition found in the sand such as children’s shovels and the odd ball I leave on a log for future visitors.
This evening I went to sit with the geese. The place where the little stream flows into the ocean is their gathering spot for the night. I’ve been here with them many times and they seem to accept my presence. I know it is a risk tonight, though. The police have been coming to clear people off the beach the last month or so.
As I sit, I take a few pictures of the geese with the colourful sky of the sunset behind them. Oddly, I can sense the trees behind me beckoning me to step into the hollow under their branches, surrounded by tall grasses and Queen Annes’s Lace. I make my way back, find yet a new way to see the sunset and take a few pictures. The hollow draws me back deeper.
There’s a single stock of Queen Anne’s Lace back here behind the overhang of branches. The dappled light of yellow and orange sky that peeks through the leaves makes for a stunning silhouette. As I capture this, I notice the geese shift as one and start to move away. I wonder what has disturbed them and make myself very still. Voices. I quietly shut off my camera, reach for my phone, silence and darken it. Two uniformed male RCMP appear on the foot of the trail, I can see them from below the overhanging foliage. I watch as they look around and move onto the beach. They stop not 20 feet away, directly in front of where I squat. I can hear them talking. I draw in my energy and make myself invisible.
A beautiful peace holds me, as if the beach community, the plants and the place, have wrapped me in a bubble of calm. Geese flying overhead to land further down the shore, away from the intruders, sound particularly clear and loud as they call. I feel as if I am breathing in rhythm with the tree, with the energy that surrounds me, my breathe blending with the pulse of the land.
The police are so close to me, can they really not know I’m here? I wonder. I am dressed in a red and black plaid shirt over a red dress. My skin is pale. Not exactly camoflage. But they make no indication that they see me. When they look around it’s as if their gaze just slides past this place. I can hear snippets of the stories they are sharing but try not to listen. From those bits, I know I don’t want to hear this. I reset my intention for invisibility. I feel cloaked by the energy around me.
After about 20 minutes, still squatting, my legs and feet begin to cramp. Slowly I stand enough to ease my backside onto the log behind me, watching to see if the movement attracts the attention of the two on the beach. The rustling in the bushes behind me from a night creature moving through the brush seems loud to me. They seem to notice neither. I settle on the log. Another 20 minutes goes by.
Most often when they come, the police walk the beach. I wonder why these two just stand in this spot and for so long. Perhaps they figure that by now no one will be here on the beach so they’re simply enjoying a pause. Finally they turn, wondering out loud where the trail marker is. It’s 10 feet to my left. I still myself further as they pass right by me, pause at the marker for one last look and head up the path. I wait another five minutes before I move, taking a few more photos from this vantage before making my way through the growth and back to the open beach.
The geese calmly return to their favorite spot as I return to mine. We greet each other silently and then return to our own thoughts, mine of gratitude for this place. Now it is getting dark. I head up the unmarked trail behind me, pausing at the top to check if anyone is there, then make my way home, enjoying the summer night.
Join my Virtual Healing Circles Monday mornings at 9 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. pacific. Learn more at the Good Vibrations: the Energy of Resilience facebook page, check out the Healing link on this site or drop me a note by e-mail.
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