Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands


The highest tide

The highest tide

Jackson’s Beach did not always exist. The north end of Griffin Bay came in all the way to shore with no lagoon. Over time the prevailing wind and currents moved sand grain after sand grain from the moraine left by the glaciers (the gravel pit), eventually building a berm between there and a rocky island where Jackson’s cannery now stands. You can see that rock between the fuel tanks and the cannery in this photo.

Shown here is the berm separating Jone’s Lagoon from the tail of bay behind the cannery. This berm is ‘down wind’ from the rock, a logical location, and was also formed by winds off Griffin Bay, assisted by the currents flowing in and out of the lagoon. Typically, these tidal lagoons are eventually filled in with soil and become salt marshes, then meadows.

I’m currently watching a continuing-education class on DVD about geology, and am amazed at the time nature can take to accomplish something like building these berms, or moving the crustal plates about the globe, or even the billions of years it took to form the earth from bits and pieces of dust from which we, and our solar system, are made.

Cosmology (not cosmetology) is the science of how the Universe evolved. For instance, a new star is born from the dust and elements created during an earlier star’s supernova explosion at the end of its life cycle. There are some cosmologists who, considering this life cycle of a star, theorize that our star (the Sun) is actually the result of a third cycle of star birth, life, and death via supernova explosions. All it takes is time, more time than we mere humans can grasp, but easily possible in the nearly 14 billion year history of our universe. Stars ‘live’ anywhere from a few million years for the biggest and hottest, to around 55 billion years for the little yellow ones that are the Eveready Batteries of the Universe.

This huge log sits about half way along that latter berm, and as big as it is, a very large storm tide must have carried it that high on the berm. I suspect that log will remain on that beach long after I’ve left this mortal coil, but if it doesn’t rot away first, will likely be carried out on some freak high tide in the future.


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