Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tide at Slack

It's almost noon and the tide is at slack, which means the river is not moving; the tide is not pushing the river up nor pulling it down toward the coast. The trees on Fisher Island are mirrored in the river and a seal moments ago, glissening a wet gray, lifted it's head and then with back arching slipped into that invisible opening and disappeared. That is how it seems. I watched to see it come up but from my window I did not see it resurface. A seal can hold it's breath for, I think anyway, near twenty minutes.

The large shards of tree trunks and stolen up roots of cottonwood, alder, sometimes fir and pine, have been piling up against our dock. But today the earlier tide action and the low river level have taken the ocean-going timber back up river; withdrawn it like a breath to exhale it again and send it back downriver to lay perhaps against the dock, bringing together all their pieces to make one whole gathering of ones.

It is in silence where the important things can be heard. So I believe. Perhaps silence is like a light in which it is by contrast that we can see; hear. I've always believed it is the silence between the notes that makes the music.

Tide at slack like this gives me room for these kinds of thoughts because it's as though a breath is being held. You know like we do when we're listening intently to hear something barely audiable---it's like that. Like the river at this time is suspending time as it is suspending the gulls and the drift wood; not so much as holding it in place but more like just letting it be in the place that it is in with no tugging this way or that.

I imagine that before life as we know it stirred on this planet this silence must have filled every cell of everything alive and perhaps from that silence life found room to grow.

I love these thoughts that emerge on mornings like this.

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