Rialto Beach, north of La Push, Washington (September 9, 2012) – The trees of Rialto Beach are littoral in that they love the sea so deeply and completely that they sacrifice height and girth to be deliciously, perilously close to salt water, lowering themselves root by root over wind-carved rock to drink.
As far as being totally Pacific Northwest, the La Push environs are about as far north and west as a tree can get in the continental US.
It’s mostly sitka spruce and hemlock here. They take root in sand and rock. They drink salt wind. During storms, they drink salt water.
When they fall, transubstantiation into driftwood is easier for them than most.
The salt here is good. The foam of it pure and white. Rocks screen the salt all day long.
People journey down the shore in a daze. It’s the awesome scale of the trees, both live and adrift, the pounding surf, the drone of the wind, all the sky. Super elemental. Transports a soul. Seems to make everyone friendly.
Nearby Shi Shi Beach is also postcard-y gorgeous and full of awesome and defiant and fallen trees.
Aside: my wife is into rocks more than trees. And she’s seen plenty of sea stacks.