New England: Please Return Our Winter!


I am tired of writing about rain, not the rain itself, just describing it. Today we decide to ignore the wet wall we walk through on the way to the moraine. This is easy for Aki as long as recent dog dropping distract her; harder for me since my handkerchief is already wet from wiping drops off the UV filter.

P1100125The place is empty of people, as if they got the memo warning of the toxic effects of today’s flood inducing deluge. We travel alone over packed snow through a screen of young alders to the Mendenhall River and a view of the glacier under storm clouds. A tall cottonwood tree leans stiffly over the river, as if righting itself after a near fall. We’ve seen eagles roost there during late summer, scanning the river for a spawned out salmon; hoping to be the first scavenger to greet its arrival on that gravel bar just down river from the tree.   In this time of famine on the moraine, the eagles hunt the tidelands.

The beavers have been busy. We find evidence of their recent logging activity along the shore of Moose Lake, a moss covered willow laid out on wet snow, its stump sculpted by the beaver teeth, the surrounding snow covered with willow chips. Why do they rise from their dens during mid-winter thaws; do they fall trees for food, dam material, or entertainment?

P1100120Near the logging operation, where a small creek keeps part of the lake ice free, a small mud flat has formed. Somethings— dog or beaver or both— have tracked clean snow with the reddish mud from the flat. Dogs, capable of extravagant silliness are the most likely culprits. If it wasn’t raining so hard I’d bend down to inspect the tracks.

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