In the cotton ball cocoon of morning fog I go out onto the beach, seeking raw material.

A shoreline in fog, a gray sea and shore

The languid tide recedes, exposing the rocky shore, and even in the soft light, agates and bits of beach glass glow.

Fog muffles the vision, but seems to amplify the sounds. From far off comes a low hum, a droning, of car traffic and plane traffic and industry. A gull calls.

This morning walk outside a summer beach cabin in October feels self-indulgent, but in the middle of a global pandemic, there is nothing to do each day but work or walk. The normal rites of fall—the football stadiums packed with fans, the sold-out concert halls, the parent-crammed sidelines of children’s soccer games—none go on this year. There is no need to pack up, close up and move from where we are, until the cold drives us away. There is nowhere to go, and no reason for going.

I hear the fishing boat coming long before I can see it, visible only because of the blue light that rotates and flashes on top. It trolls so slowly the wake is just a ruffle on the bay. The Tulalip people fish these waters as their ancestors have for thousands of years, for long before Captain George Vancouver charted them and named this bay for his second lieutenant Peter Puget. Now 200 years later, the waters have been renamed for the native people, the Salish Sea.

From down the beach some dark figures gradually appear. I know these morning walkers. The wife always walks far ahead of her lagging husband. They both look pained; she at having to temper her pace for him, and he at being dragged along on this daily excursion.

I stoop for bits of glass and pottery, roughened and tumbled by waves, the combined product of humans and nature. I will make them into something else entirely: earrings, a pendant, maybe a bracelet, just as I will re-form these thoughts. Whether these transformations are improvements someone else may judge. I collect the raw materials and try to see in them something new, maybe something worthwhile, something that will gradually emerge, as if from fog.

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