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

Eight Mile Beach

There are daffodil leaves pushing determinedly up through last week's snow because the sun has shone for a few days. The higher hills still look like this...

Uh, no, you don't want to snowboard that slope.

Sun's out, snowline's retreating, that 'stuffy' winter feeling needs to go away. TIME TO GO TO THE BEACH!

A spring outing to Eight Mile Beach peels away some of that layered-in-wool, guarding-against-cold, breathing-too-much-indoor-air feeling from the last four months. Just walking twenty steps from the parking lot to this beach changes the world. It is a cool day, but not cold. The sun has a little bit of power, a touch of warmth, sweet spring nectar.

Eight Mile Beach

A-a-ah. The world is perfect now.

What is on the menu here? Shell collectors won't find much here. Maybe a little bit. Maybe one clam shell.

Clam shell among the pebbles.

There's one! A perfect skipping stone!

This beach is about activities. The rope swing tugs at my inner eight-year-old. My older, fuller thighs are holding out for a tire swing, though.

Hidden in plain sight is the perfect activity just begging to be freed. "Please," they cry out, "Let us fly!"

Skipping stones!

Leaping and flying.

Stone freedom

In another month Eight Mile Beach will invite families for picnics. The kids will wade and swim till their lips turn blue. Moms and Dads will hand out snacks and then turn their faces upward to take in the pure joy of a blue sky over the rainforest. Dogs will chase a stick into the water, bringing it faithfully to a waiting youngster before shaking a doggy-scented shower all over them.  Marshmallows will meet their fate over glowing coals.

Right now, though, the ripples shloosh-shloosh-shloosh rhythmically on the beach, an eagle lands on the branch of the big tree, and there is thrumming of a boat engine in the distance.

Skipping stones practice touch-and-go's on the glassy water.

Finding an even more perfect skipping stone is better than finding a restaurant that serves the best pizza in the state.

What? You want to see the eagle? Okay.

Bald eagle in a spruce tree.

Closer? Okay.

Mature bald eagle

And the boat. You want to see the boat, too, right?

I do.

Wishing you a perfect spring day, a deep breath of new air, a light breeze that doesn't freeze.

Alaska Beachcomber