We hiked down to Second Beach. I could tell I was hyped; Amanda had to hush my obscenities at the start of the hike. (I don't have Tourette's, though when I'm on edge, my boundaries get a bit soft.)
I found myself in front of the pack, and started rehearsing in my head what I was going to say. I cried and kept it to myself.
There's a tree near the beach end of the trail that people have turned into a sort of shrine, with stones and shells and feathers and flowers and bottle caps and coins draped and stuck and stabbed everywhere. I found myself wanting to clean up beer bottles and leave rocks behind, then realized I had no business interfering with others' prayers.
We took off our shoes and socks and put our lunches in our shoes. We lined up for a silent procession: Carol holding Adam's arm, followed by the rest of us: Danny, Amanda, Bryan, Mara and me. When Carol reached the spot she had in mind, we drew into a circle.
Amanda and I started, or I did. Sometimes I think our planning puts us in the same mind, and it's hard to remember where one of us starts and the other ends.
I talked about why we came to LaPush: Dad loved it, Dad died, and the one thing he was explicit about was being scattered here. I asked if others had things to say, and they did, and we held each other in a circle and cried.
We all sang Dona Nobis Pacem. Mara had learned the words the night before; Adam had learned the tune when studying cello.
Carol carried the box of Dad's ashes in a silk backpack inside her regular backpack. We all took turns wading into the surf and rinsing handfuls into the water. I was delighted at the beauty of the grey cloud, and at the way after the waves pulled back, I could see little grains of Dad join the grains of sand. It all made sense to me and I decided on the spot I wanted the same done with my mortal remains.
After we'd all taken turns, there was still a lot of ash, so we took more turns. Carol asked me and Amanda to join her; we'd been like three points on a triangle while caring for Dad and acknowledging that is important for her.
Then there was the walk back to the shoes, which Amanda and I had planned to be silent (protect the ritual), though when I asked her if she was okay with the crosstalk, she said yes.
Our coats and sweaters and hair were so wet nobody wanted to hang around. We worked the damp sand from our shoes, each with a different method, and turned to go back to the cars.
On the way back up the hill, I stopped at the tree shrine and added shards of blue glass from the beach.