Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

Beach Totems and Bonsai

Bird Beach Totem

Beach Totems only come out when there is a special alignment of tide, sun, wind and earth. You can only see them with high tide, calm water, good light, and the right arrangements of rocks.

It is like looking at cloud pictures. You might see birds or turtles or teddy bears. You are likely to see lots of crazy faces. One of the fun things about Beach Totems is that the bilateral symmetry makes all kinds of faces.


Beach totem stone totem Southeast Alaska

A little snow helps to bring them out, too!

Last year I was in the Wrangell Museum Gift Shop and was intrigued by gift cards of Stone Totems by Teresa McIntyre of Three Bears Cove. I bought some of the cards, and wondered if I would ever be lucky enough to see a Stone Totem in the wild. I found totems made of beach boulders, so I call them Beach Totems.

Here is the beach...

Beach totem stone totem Southeast Alaska

...and here is a totem. Some are shorter than others.

It is a treat to see beach totems.

The day before I saw bonsai trees. It hadn't snowed yet. It rained though. Oh, there was plentiful rain. I was hiking around in a muskeg, enjoying the gnarled forms that some of the pines make.

 Many of the pine trees that grow in the muskeg are stunted, twisted, and bent. They are hewn by hardship. Poor nutrient availability, high acidity, and other factors make it a difficult environment for them.  This little tree is under two feet tall, and it might be over one hundred years old. You can click the image to enlarge it.

Shore pine (Pinus contorta)

Some of them, like the one above, dance. What do you think? Cha-cha tree?

Below is a bonsai-to-be. It already has two tops.

I did not adjust the colors on this image. There are places in the muskeg in the early winter where the moss is the most beautiful reds. Luscious.

As you, my dear friends, go about your day, may you see wonders in everything you look at,

Alaska Beachcomber