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22 August, 2009

Last Day on Cypress

Awakened on this final day by the sub-sonic slurp of a deeply ebbing tide, mud-sirens singing me shoreward and beyond. The captain headed out to pick up another intern, and I ambled down to map a dike laid down in the 1870s--positively ancient by Washington history standards--during the frenzy of Euro-men wresting ag land from the Skagit River and surrounding Sound.

Not much to show except a berm, so no plane table and alidade, just a notebook and a GPS. Biding my time and watching the tide pull further and further back. Taking photos general and detailed. Noting the alterations and silly attempts to foil the water's appetite for land. Concrete in one sea wall encompasses the archaeological history: shell midden, cut bone from a Europeanish table, and a can of WD-40.
Vast expanses of mud not exposed, I was free to strike out in search of sites and artifacts. 19th and 20th century detritus showed up here and there, and I also found a stone chopper that could have been made any time between 15,000 BP and the birth of the barnacle stuck to it.

Pilings rotted down to mud level showed the foundations of vacation cabins that had been depicted on land on the only map that ever depicted them, eliminating confusion that could only interest the geekiest reader. Seriously, is anyone still following this? Back away from the computer and do something worthwhile.

I've got some important daydreaming to do about the shoes I need to fabricate to help with mud-flat survey. I know I said they'd be like snowshoes, but now I'm thinking they ought to be modeled on heron feet: yew toes, woven webbing of otter hide strips, maybe even stilted to give me a higher perspective. Later, maybe. Right now the family is waking up and I ought to do something productive. You too. Adios.

1 comment:

  1. You asked if anybody was following what you were saying. There was a time you would not have been able to stand where you were looking at that (chopper?) barnacle covered rock. It used to be private property, and some effort was made to keep the harbor "Secret". I lived out there and worked out there between 1979 and 1991. I am so jealous you were out there. I have not been back on the island since 1991. I miss it. Mansion mentioned in earlier post? either the Richter (so called) weekend cottage, or the Main Building of the School. Thinking it was the former. Would love to see more pictures.