Praying the Hours at Elkhorn Slough

I don’t know if you know Elkhorn Slough.

Famously–though famous feels like not quite the right word for a salt marsh–it’s incredibly biodiverse, an internationally important wetland, an out-of-the-way place to observe birds and sea otters.

Also well-known in the area: mercury levels too high for safe fish consumption, and the twin stacks of the Moss Landing Power Plant.

It’s on Monterey Bay, and so not far at all from the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium (which, if you are on Twitter, has one of the most delightful non-friend Twitter accounts I follow.)

Born and (partly) raised not far north, I’ve been through the area plenty, but I spent my first quality time there last winter. I have family who live just a couple of miles away–lucky ducks. And lucky me.

That quality time was several days–not enough–mostly walking, or sitting in water or sand, mostly not talking. It’s a worthy place to do all of those things, and I could have used more days, and a kayak, and someone who knows how to navigate the slough in one. I’m going to go find all of that this winter, if I’m fortunate.

I don’t know if I know Elkhorn Slough, but I’ve surely been shifted, approaching the place and inhabitants. Here’s a poem I composed while in residence there, beautifully published in EcoTheo Review.

Marsh Map

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