Harvest Time

A child could re-create this riverine forest with green and brown crayons. Without strong sunlight to bring out detail the plant forms blend into a restful mass.  Aki and I walk through it in silence.  I spook a Varied Thrust which flies without squawk or song into a cottonwood to stare down on us in silence. Wanting to keep my hands free of repellant for berry picking I’m defenseless against mosquitos but none buzz by. It’s as if all the animals have deserted this lovely place except for a far off raven croaking out complaints.

Many would relish an opportunity to walk through this quiet verdant place. Having enjoyed a fair bit of drama lately I’m jaded enough to look for some flash but only a light shower of white cottonwood seed down breaks the monopoly of green. The feathery white flakes drift down to collect in the palms of devil’s clump leaves like snow.  There is this small spike of white orchid blossoms smelling like Parisian perfume and just ripe blueberries — our first forest harvest of the season. Using the last of my five senses in the forest I savor their complex tartness.

Human voices reach us when we near the forest edge made by a family of three. They talk loudly to warn the bears of their presence. We hear then long after passing then on the trail and I am relieved when Aki and I reach the big tidal flats. Here a dozen bald eagles have spread themselves at the edge of the water. They all look seaward, as if monitoring the progress of our large gill net fleet now harvesting sockeye salmon as they try to reach their spawning grounds on the Chilkoot River.

A murder of crows form a dark line on a shrinking island of sand. Some bicker for space but most just search the sand for food. Beyond them a large dark shape breaks the surface. I guess whale but it is too far off for me to be sure. I lead Aki over the sand flats toward the water to get a better look. Some dogs might chase after crows or eagles but she stays quietly by my side. Nearby a mature eagle stands, its talons gripping a small piece of drift wood. We circle it at a respectful distance until it stands between my camera and the Herbert Glacier. 


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