Settling for Diminutive Beauty

Aki and I climbed to this mountain meadow for a taste of natural grandeur but have to settle for glimpses of small beauty. Last night another Gulf of Alaska front jammed clouds against our mountains to obscure the peaks and dampened Chicken Ridge with rain.  I still find plenty of ground hugging beauty and Aki raced a snowshoe hare.

After getting over disappointment at the lost of sunshine, I’m free to appreciate the complex pattern formed by rain dropped on windblown grass and the magenta flowers — tiny bog rosemary, mysterious (to me) shoots of pink and white petals shaped into hands of prayer, and two late blooming shooting stars. Single stalks of Hooded Lady Tresses tower above the muskeg too far from the trail for me to smell their orchid scent.

On some disturbed ground near the trail I mistake a scattering of small mushrooms for diminutive daisies.  A snow shoe hare breaks from cover and tears down the trail. While I’m appreciating the hare’s efficient lope Aki takes after it, shedding her rain wrap in the process. Aki is fast but so is the hare, who has quite a head start.  The contestants disappear over a low hill, then Aki returns a little winded.  Good thing it wasn’t the Creggan White Hare.

If she were a child, I would lecture Aki, explaining that the hare has a hard enough time surviving on this mountain meadow without being chased by a poodle in fleece.  She might respond that she is only yielding to her DNA as a dog bred by the French for the hunt.

On the ride down mountain we spot a deer near the road fringe. With Aki staring at it, the deer boldly approaches the car, fixing me with a hard look. This is too much for Aki, who gives it a growl then watches the deer move slowly into the woods.

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