Snap Out of It

Wake up and end your winter slumber. That’s what I want to tell the Fish Creek Woods but only fools talk to trees. That’s how Aki sees it. We find a few blue berries willing to send out a spray or two of blossoms but everything else is wrapped up tight.

The soft woods trees and other deciduous plants can’t gamble with nature. Leafing out now and a killing frost could deny them a chance to grow in the summer sun. Their reticence extends famine time for the bear and deer who need some green growth now. Both are around, leaving tracks in creek side gravel. Aki leads me to the bear’s bedding area. Nowhere are the clipped off shoots of beach grass to give evidence of the bear’s spring feed.

There is freedom of sight for Aki and I in this dormant wood. With the devil’s club restrained she owns the low spaces and runs freely under downed trees. For me, this time without leaves allows appreciation of shapes and running water and, ironically, the force of life. Now I can see unimpeded all the young evergreens sucking life from decaying nursery logs. Nothing is wasted here. I can also see reminders of the salmon of summer that will fill this stream with their dying bodies and these trees with eagles and bears. Eagle feathers are scattered along the trail like bread crumbs. Eagle scat and down cover the ground near the spawning grounds.

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