Being Present to the Beauty Around You

This morning’s solo bike ride to the Glacier predisposed me to guilt because I left Aki behind. After the usual exuberant welcome home, she hits me with one long sad look. To make up with her I pick a dog walker trail for our afternoon stroll.

At the trailhead Aki bounces out of the car to read signs left by dogs already on the trail. We encounter a half dozen on the gravel road leading up to the start of the meadow trail. She dashes from dog to dog, face frozen in an emotionless mask, only showing joy with welcoming posture and flapping ears. We are both hot by the time we reach the meadow.

Here we find Douglas Pine under stress, their needles already dry dead brown. The Mountain Hemlock look better except for one showing all the colors of a New England fall.  The high mountains still rise above the meadow, now decorated with cloud shadows. Above its all blue sky and white angel clouds.

We climb out of the meadow to enjoy the moist shade of the old growth forest and ten walk briefly along the old Treadwell ditch. I think of the morning bike ride with its  fog rising smoke like from the valley streets and of the sockeye salmon with their bright red heads and green bodies fighting for space on the spawning beds. Closing my eyes I see them and the field of blooming fireweed that provided a magenta frame for the glacier and its towers. “Why,” I ask Aki, “Am I always dreaming of one rich place while walking through the beauty of another?

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