Sudden Onset

I am surveying another beaver flooding, crunching over thin ice formed where the raised pond water just covered the trail before freezing, stopping where the trail makes a sudden drop. Its just above freezing but a Taku wind pattern has set in to make walking uncomfortable on more exposed trails.

Clear, windy days are best spent in relatively unmolested spruce forests that touch a beach where looking up offers a view of blue sky crowded with the tops of hundred foot tall Evergreens. Shafts of light radiate small patches of forest green, Wind driven surf sighs while breaking on the nearby beach.  I’d sigh with the surf to release beaver frustration if the ice layer over their newly flooded territory did not glow with beauty where struck by sunbeams.

Its a rare and puzzling thing—this arrival of Taku conditions before forest understory plants could send the last of their summer energy to root or the snow could insulate them.  Most plants look shocked by sudden onset, leaves cringing, surprised by the killing frost while stretching out with confidence that time would allow weeks more to top off the mother’s tank.

Leaving the beavers to their flooded world Aki and I move to the forest edge where   high tide covers most of the beach. Normally a cold weather sanctuary for sea birds and eagles, we find none today. Only two stunning white dots floating the swell between Outer Point and Shaman Island suggest life. They are big enough to be swans.

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