i reach down into the sand and feel the smooth rocks of all different shapes and sizes. i turn a round one over and over in my hand. the air is cold against my face. rain drops onto my head, cheeks, nose, shoulders. i reach down again and pick up a rock with a sea plant attached to it...long dead. the rock and plant together look like a human heart. a human heart. i feel the sand as it sticks to my fingers. i rub them together trying to remove some of it. then i feel the cold water as i put my fingertips in to wet them and wash them off. the rain again falling on my head, my nose. as i find the spot to build my altar, i decide to put my fleece gloves on. instantly, my hands are warmed.
i take a breath and inhale the dampness and the cold of the fresh, wide, open air of the sea. at some point, i am so cold that my nose starts to run. i smell very little during this adventure.
as i work on my altar, i pause to take a drink of water. the clean taste of the water cleanses my palette and my mind. just for a moment.
the water laps quietly as the small waves roll in and out. seagulls cry around me. high in the sky. along the edge of the water behind me. i am far enough away from everyone else that i do not hear any human voices. as i move rocks, i hear my own breath as some of them are heavy. one makes a loud curplunk down onto the sand as i move it yet again and drop it. i walk back down to the water and hear myself gasp as i find another rock that looks like a heart. this time in the shape of a typical heart. later i hear a voice. though no one is around. the voice answers a question i have just thought aloud in my head.
the beauty of the beach at fort worden. low tide. so much to see. rocks, plants, kelp, shells, empty bodies that once had crabs within them, sea gulls, people, water, islands, seagrass, the twisty shapes of medrona tress, a pair of ducks, so many colors within all of this sea life. oranges, pinks, greens, greys, whites, blacks, purples, greens, reds. as i walk, i pick up the pieces that draw me in. the rocks, shells, plants. i find a spot that is to be my spot for the next hour or so. the place where i will create a nature altar. i first draw in the wet sand, but i can't find what appeals to me. i look to the right and see another large rock that almost have a cave underneath it. i move to it and look around. as i find a few larger rocks to add to my little pile, i decide to stack them. i also create little pile of multi-colored rocks.
then an idea comes to me and i create a circle of black rocks that all look alike around this stack of rocks. on top of the stack goes my human heart rock. this is me. in the sea of things that are alike, i feel lost and alone and stripped down to my heart. i move the heavy large rock that has a little indentation in it where water has pooled...i move it to the left of this little mountain i have created. and i put some little plants in this small pool on the top of this rock. and i create a circle around this big rock. a circle of all the little things that i have picked up as i walked to this spot. the small rocks of all different colors, little plants, funny fuzzy stuff that looks like hair but is really a sea plant, shells of all different sizes. the heart sees this land of funny creatures and wants to be a part of it. so i must figure out a way to get it there. i try to build a bridge but it does not seem to work or to be the right addition to this altar. how will this heart rock climb off of this mountain? i think to myself, "i don't know how to get there. how will i get across this valley between the two?"
when you suddenly hear a voice say, "you have wings," take a breath and hold on. you are about to visit places you only let yourself dream about...