Stopping by the Beach on a Sunny Evening
I could say also say ' whose beach this is I think I know'-- but then I'd get stuck in Frost's rhyme and the theme too-- which isn't related to this story at all. The beach is really the town's, but was here long before there was a town, and even was once part of another, long gone community named Chilkat that had its own post office years before Haines did. Before that - thousands of years before-- Tlingit people sailed and paddled by here on their way to villages up the river. There is something eternal about this place. You can see it, and feel it. Last night I heard it, too.
On our way home from dinner at the Fireweed we saw a friend and her dog walking down the trail out toward our place from the bottom of Cemetery Hill, so I went to the beach to meet them when they passed by our house. (Turns out it this was their destination, and my friend was carrying a plant. A potted orchid no less. But that's another story.)
Pearl and I sat quietly waiting for them, and it only took a minute to realize that we were not alone. It wasn't picnickers, or dog walkers, or children. It was music. There was singing. High pitched long notes. At first they were solos, some deeper, some softer, some louder, and then there was a swelling chorus, with different melodies, but somehow all in tune, almost like a jazz concert, but without a back beat.
They were across the river, back behind the island. When my friend appeared I asked how she liked the wolves, and she said, 'that's what that sound is?' and joined me, and we sat and sipped a little wine and listened to the concert, until the biting gnats found us, and we walked out toward the little breeze, and the wolf music, but by the time we reached the end of the flats, it had stopped and the tide had turned, so we hustled back. Still, isn't that something? Doesn't that make you want to sing?