Two posts in two days? What the hell?!
Scott coerced me into going for a bike ride today though I was feeling particularly lazy and cranky--or maybe because I was a bit cranky. We started out into a heavy mist and I was cold and the world seemed even blearier and grayer than it was because my glasses were rapidly covered in droplets. I said we'd go towards Alki because that would get us a few miles and we'd have the option of throwing the bikes on a bus if it was too miserable by then.
And it stayed pretty gray, but I warmed up a bit and there were birds on the water. Before we reached Alki I'd stopped for the first photo op of the day: cormorants on pilings against the gray that seemed so thick that it blotted out the downtown skyline. That turns out not to be absolutely true now that I look at the photo: it's just that my glasses were so damned covered in water themselves.
|There's a ferry as well as faint skyline in the background.|
I started thinking about Sunfish
on Alki soon after the cormorants for some of my crankiness likely came from being hungry and I like to eat a lot of fish in the run-up to Lent. Happily, Scott was agreeable and they were open so we stopped for some quite excellent fish and chips. While we were gorging, the clouds broke up a little and there were tiny hints of sun by the time we emerged. We continued the great circle route, pausing along Constellation Park to admire what I assume were one male and three female harlequin ducks. I suggested it might be called Harem Island, but Scott thought it was three sisters and their younger brother. Not a great photo, but I so seldom see harlequins this close.
|Possibly Anne, Emily, Charlotte, and Branwell|
The next pause was at the northern end of the approach to Lincoln Park's beach. It's our normal route, but I've never noticed this fine garage door before so I think it may be fairly recent. Or I may just be unobservant; I didn't recognize the selkie immediately and Scott had to point out the gull above the owl.
There were still a number of birds out on the water, but the path is a bit tricky with a lot of gravel so I was mostly watching where Bessie and I were going along the beach. Once we got up into the forestesque park above I was able to coast a bit more, listening to birdsong but seeing only a few juncos and, eventually, a robin. I paused to pose Bessie by a few of the quite enchanting trees.
|The north side of the tree was indeed, quite mossy. So were all the other sides; that's the way of Seattle trees.|
|This madrone has certainly seen better days but it was quite gobsmacking nonetheless.|
I've felt a particular fondness for Pacific Madrones since working on Cascadia Field Guide, in part because I so love Elizabeth Bradfield's poem, "Succession."
|Here and below, the Pacific Madrone pages of Cascadia Field Guide, looking a bit wavy because that's what happens when you try to prop open a 400-page book with a glass candlestick.|
So, a close-up of that tree's fine bark:
While at Sunfish, I asked the owner (who had been on vacation the last couple of months) somewhat wistfully if he'd been any place warm
during his break because this year Seattle's winter has felt particularly dispiriting. But, truly, I would not live anywhere else.