This story was found, rolled up scrollish, in an old, water tight film canister, tucked in the niche of a driftwood log. I pieced the brittle scraps into a mosaic, and glued them to a cedar slab Godfrey had brought home, long ago for our beach sandal and travel bag window display. Missing bits of the narrative are my own, we have never located “Plump Bay”. It is very early Godfrey, inspired by his beachcomber dreams…
” I shall take you a winged journey, back to the long fallen log that nurtured me.” The wee seedling I was, first feel of sunlight through the canopy. The snow bed in winter, scorch of fire in summer, felt earths every subtle shifting, deer trail turn to track, to skid road through the grove where strong I grew.
I’ll spare the details how the mighty ones about me, gave themselves to whipsaw and axe. I was young! despite fear of lightning I still sought the sky, my limbs held raven and eagle, I shaded skunk cabbage, salal and bracken fern, but of this fine life, I will not prattle on, for tree no more, in twisted old age, I am now Mike’s favorite dragon.
Twas the vagabond, Godfrey, first noticed the tall man, on Plump Bay Beach, they walked in different directions, they walked that summer each day, as persons walking oft do, a polite nod in passing,” good morning “is all usually either chap would say.
For Godfrey was a young poet, all full of himself and the freedom of a backpacking roamer, Mike had left irksome society behind, in the city for the “Good life of a full time beachcomber.” No shorebird or shell escaped his keen eye, no jasper or jade, or polished glass in the scrum of the surf , he often knelt, just thinking, at the low tide line.
On the teeming streets, people passed Mike by, or looked twice in curiosity, silver hair, long gray beard. His silent way, in Plump Bay made him blend with the mists, the sandpipers and herons, he sought wisdom in the tide-pools, it is I held Mike, and Godfrey to, in times of deep thought or sadness, they leaned on me looking out to the horizon, many weathered driftwood logs are strewn along the bay, but I alone was Mike’s favorite dragon.
“I was ancient long before Mike or Godfrey were born. Spared the saw, alas my roots grew tired and weak, when I finally fell to the October gales, and high waters in the flood of Ayum Creek.” “Full forty years a bridge, for bold hikers to cross my mossy back. They dove deep in the swimming hole below, many a young adventurer, rested in my shade, dreamed of the lovely places they would go”.
“I drifted down to sea, when the river released me, stout, twisted I broke free, but my status in life reduced now to a “Dead Head Log “. Sad years stuck in the flat, lonely, muddy estuary. “Now and then tide helped to move me, I let otters rest for an “Otter’s Breakfast”, meaning a scratch and a look around, I was a patient perch for herons when aground, sun and salt smoothed me clean and true, kindly tide and wind, placed me one night forever, high up the sandy beach, of Plump Bay, in Coltsfoot Sound.
“I’m part buried in a dune, free of mudflats mire, arch of my back still strong, long broken smoothed out branches protrude from golden sand, my tail singed, the breath of a recent Bonfire night. “What a lovely, old log dragon, exclaimed the cheeky young Godfrey, at first sight.
“Indeed, he wrote, there is mirth and life still in this weathered log, it’s long neck reaching for the sky, and on her tail have hung my kilt and socks to dry”. “There is even a knot-hole, where someone has placed an Abalone shell chip for an eye”. “In the curve of the dragon’s belly, out of the wind I write, and plan to camp here for the night”.
“Mid morning…soft footfall on the rubble, I awoke looking up at the loner, the passing beach combing man”. “See you’ve found my favorite dragon”, he taps with his hobo stick, above the shell eye, tips his feathered hat and moves on”.
Farewell, farewell, eventually bid Godfrey, the odd dragon shaped log, and his time by the sea.
“I’m a place to rest, a monster for the young to climb on, I am a landmark, a shelter from the rain and sun”. Still a living thing- I shall remain here forever, Mike’s favorite dragon.