This big silver bathtub fills and empties twice each day. The old woman who holds the tideline, according to a native Tlingit story, releases her grasp to allow the ocean to fall, revealing small pools, kelp and limpets. The tide goes out.
Eventually she pulls the line in, and the sheet of water inches toward the orange, crackling flames of fire I’m sitting beside.
Small schooling fish jump from the pink ocean. The mountains to the north gaze down upon Icy Strait.
Bull kelp floats atop the ocean, it ripples, yet is anchored tight to sea bottom. The plant’s steadfast holds onto a rock, and its stalk grows toward the surface where it becomes a gaseous floating balloon, laying on the flat marine surface. Fronds lengthen from this sphere to spread green strands of photosynthetic salty, success.
A low manmade hum sweeps inland from the water: a boat engine. It can’t be seen from this spot on Chichagof Island, but the tremble of mankind can be heard from many miles away. This anthropogenic vibration of machination is prolonged as it floats atop a silent evening sea. It is a low-pitched undulation. Distant and deep. Far, but omnipresent.
The sky to the west lightens to yellow, orange and pink, as the sun drops even further behind the mountains. The sky’s bright hue is like a colorful explosion from a fictitious heaven. A gift from imagined gods. Or just the atmosphere alighted by atoms and photons, or something.
Tomorrow I will leave Chichagof Island, but Icy Strait will continue to fill with water, then she will let go, and the tideline will drop.
Again tomorrow evening the skies will dance and turn, whales will breathe and breach in the distance and the ocean will remain flat as a sheet, or maybe stir, furl and roll.
Tomorrow the ocean will still ebb and flow.
The sky will glow.