counting ladybugs with a hairy sasquatch at guillemot cove

The eastern shore of Hood Canal on a beach speckled with Pacific oysters is a good place to spend a Sunday afternoon, the Olympic Mountains loomed a mile away to the west. By evening, incoming tide forced a gradual retreat from the boys’ fort in the tangled branches of a fallen madrone and so we moved to the mouth of Boyce Creek where they played for some time. Unbeknownst to me, Adam would smuggle home several pounds of empty oyster shells in his backpack, I discovered them last night after the smell began leaching out very slowly like a faulty nuclear reactor. The odor: It was more offensive than if you imagine Sasquatch is real and has a problem dribbling pee on himself (the shagginess and whatnot) and the whole matted, knotty uriney mess is fouled by his own rotten saliva (having recently savored left-over entrails of a diseased cougar) after an unsuccessful spit bath on himself for the purposes of disentangling a chaotic chunk of crusty braids. Adam is harboring artisanal notions of barnacle-encrusted oyster shell jewelry and he explained to me how the fluted shells could hold photographs and precious stones although the wearer of such rather large pieces may contend with attacks from aggressive gulls.


Before setting out for the trailhead (on a hill high above) at sunset, at our urging Adam abandoned the wayward oyster trap you see him wearing here after it swung around for the umpteenth time and smacked him in the kisser (he kept forgetting he was wearing a trap when stooping down for interesting rocks and shells).  It was an unwieldy beast which I found earlier but bequeathed back to mother nature in order to avoid contracting Mad Shellfish Disease (just wasn’t in the mood for gross briny stuff). As a consolation prize, Adam kept the floats……

A bit more terrestrially-speaking: Slipping into Elliott Bay Bookstore on Saturday afternoon for just a spell before an engagement, Adam and I hoped to find some sort of reference for the flight simulation program we’ve started working with but we came up empty.  I did leave with a copy of Paula Becker’s Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I. We shortcut across Cal Anderson Park, observing scruffy, radical skateboarders on the tennis courts taking meticulously choreographed iPhone videos of each other in various stunts whereafter we cut a diagonal course for 15th Avenue East and I dropped Adam off for a friend’s birthday party.  On the trudge home, I stopped at fancy Ada’s Technical Books which feels as sterile to me as the day it opened but nevertheless has become a popular gathering place for millennials and their laptops.

Finally, if you will allow me to vent insectorial matters of recent frustration: I stopped counting ladybugs into the bug-collecting jar the other day at number 27, all in one south-facing bedroom window. Egads! At night most of them tuck into the cracks of our drafty double-hung windows for bedtime and dream about springtime buffets of aphids but there’s always at least one renegade who gets overly excited after my reading lamp has been on for a spell, occasionally pinging me in the side of the head while twirling in small circles like a Dutch swing and extremely beneficial critters though they may be- our guests have sort of turned into the lazy couch surfer friend who leaves gobs of peanut butter in the jam jar and takes half-hour showers. One morning, I slid out of bed and noticed I’d fallen asleep on a ladybug and a moment later it slow-crawled away and when I came back it was perched on the bed post like it wanted to get my attention and I felt a little like Horton the elephant and transported the little speck but I can’t do that for all of ’em……..

6 thoughts on “counting ladybugs with a hairy sasquatch at guillemot cove

  1. Your description of the oyster shells’ aroma is so vivid that I fear now I too will be haunted by the acrid aroma of Sasquatch fur covered in dry pee. Thank you for that. 🙂 And how about those ladybugs? I love the idea of them waiting patiently for their aphid buffet — and especially the image of that one overeager (overcaffeinated, perhaps?) gal who keeps whapping into the side of your head. But most of all, I love your approach to all of these events: In your writing there is always a gentle reminder that we are *in* this earth, instead of *on* it. Thank you for a particularly beautiful and welcome nature reverie.

    • Heather, thank you for seeing the deeper strands and threads of real things. I’m gradually trying to stop writing like I’m ten years old but as I’m a product of my environment…. In retrospect I feel a little guilty abusing the reputation of Sasquatch who is probably far cleaner than most people.

      • Writing like a 10-year-old??! More like a 100-year-old who is drawing on a lifetime of wisdom and experience, dear T-Fir. (Not to mention wonderful humor.) As for Sasquatch … well, something tells me he’d be the first to admit the fur gets a bit rank after a long winter of squatting in the woods without any prospect of a shower. 🙂

  2. Aren’t childrens’ imaginations awesome? My brother and I once caught a whole bucket of fiddler crabs and brought them back to the beach cottage and left them out on the patio for a day or two, until Mom came out and almost keeled over from the fumes. The beach is the best place for dreams. Haven’t been to Seattle in so long. Taking the ferry from Bremerton and walking around visiting the book store and hiking around the waterfront, the market and Pioneer Square were such fun days. Thanks for all the wonderful reminders TF!

    • And your little stories from childhood and the younger years are great, Ilona. I really like it when you reflect and describe ditties like the fiddler crabs at the beach cottage. Gems to me.

      If you ever make it up to Seattle I hope you’ll call on me so we can get a coffee or somesuch. Did you know Elliott Bay Bookstore is no longer in Pioneer Square? Been almost seven years since it moved up to Capitol Hill into what used to be a Ford truck repair shop. It has taken a long time for me to get used to the change as I was very fond of the old space.

      • Wow TF I didn’t know the bookstore moved. It HAS been a long time. We consider moving back to the West Sound area sometimes. We both miss the water and the Sound, but also like being closer to Portland down here so who knows??? Someday we will have that coffee TF!

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