By Eva Saulitis | Morning. Late June. Daytime breeze already ruffling the passage. While doing calisthenics on the beach, Olga spotted three blows threading upward in rapid succession against Gage Island, across the passage. Humpbacks. Some days, a particular quality of light, wind, and humidity made spouts stand out. Ralph, Mary, and I loaded up Whale 1. Since Elli was still sleeping, Olga stayed behind at camp. A few moments after departing, I spotted smaller, fuller blows off Squire Point. “Stop!” I yelled. The three of us stared through binoculars until the whales surfaced again—three orcas slinking close to shore, heading toward camp.
By Christine BylEva Saulitis was a writer of uncommon insight. She was a field biologist, a soulful mentor and teacher, a passionate advocate for the natural world and its creatures, and a remarkable friend to me and to many others. Eva was also a Beacon author, which is why I write of her here. She died at age fifty-two on January 16, 2016, in Homer, Alaska, of the metastatic breast cancer that she journeyed with so mindfully for two and a half years. Surrounded by her treasured family and held up by a community that spans continents, Eva piloted the end of her life like one of the small boats on which she spent years doing field work—nimbly, with curiosity and stamina amidst difficult conditions, an ear cocked toward the engine, alert to the beauty and the losses that pepper the world. In her passing she leaves a wake of influence that belies a life ended much too early.
Summer is a time for getting outdoors, listening to the birds, taking long walks in the woods or long naps on the beach. With that in mind, we bring you five books to accompany your summer adventures, or inspire your next trip outdoors.