Reluctant Dowager

I started this journal a year ago with a description of the Fish Creek Trail. Today Aki and I are back. It rained hard last night and will again later today. We enjoy some dry weather in between, pleasantly surprised when a little sunshine muscles through the marine layer. It hits the grassland bordering the fish creek pond where we had been enjoying the subtle play of yellowing cotton wood leaves against the deep green spruce woods. The sunshine drives away subtlety, enriching fall colored trees and grasses and energizing the sacks of rain still clinging to blade and leaf.

The color had faded by last October 9th. The salmon and eagles and bears had all left. It was a land going to rest. Today summer green holds on if a little faded, bug eaten with wounds of brown. This year’s summer is a strong willed dowager resisting the inevitable move to a nursing home. Berry brush and willows retrain their summer foliage. Even the ferns hold on to some of summer.

A mile in we catch a whiff of fish carrion—what bears smell like at the end of salmon season. I’m relieved to find Aki taking timid steps at my heals and continue on. Minutes later the smell returns even though recent storms have washed away all the dead salmon. I slip her leash on and we walk with cautious eyes to the turn around point.  I sing and talk to Aki in a loud voice who appears to raise an eyebrow in critical response. An eagle complains from a close tree so there must be some salvageable salmon still on the spawning ground.  The smell returns. Aki, suddenly appreciative of my wisdom moves back behind me for the return trip. She stays there until we cross a small stream — ther Rubicon. Aki struts from there to the car.

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