Monday, March 29, 2010

The Highs and Lows

"High Tide: Padilla Bay" 18x36" oil pastel Kathleen Faulkner

"Low Tide: Padilla Bay" 18x36" oil pastel Kathleen Faulkner

Padilla Bay is on the way out of town.  I've passed by it more times than I can count.  I always look and it's always different. 

Padilla Bay is an estuary.  The bay is filled with sediment from the Skagit River making the bottom very shallow. When the tide is out, the whole bay empties and at high tide it floods.  

One third of Puget Sound's eelgrass grows here.  The bay is covered with it:  nearly 8,000 acres.  Eelgrass is valuable because it is habitat for millions of critters.  It's used as a nursery for salmon, crab, perch and herring as well as home to worms, shrimp, clams and other invertebrates which, in turn, are food for herons, eagles, otters and seals.  It's a whole community unto itself.  

When I'm passing it I usually don't think about all the living that's going on there.  I'm looking at the patterns and contrast and color.  I'm thinking about how beautiful it is and how lucky I am to be able to see it whenever I want.  I'm also thinking of it as my very own personal tide table.