Seamus, the digital display on our electronic thermometer, has dressed himself in shorts and sunglasses and promises an outside temperature of 45(f). Seamus sometimes lies but not today. From our kitchen window on Chicken Ridge I can see sunlight bouncing off the waters of Gasteneau Channel, bringing the whitest highlights out of the snow covering Douglas Island.
Aki, who has spent her morning inside contemplating the unfairness of a poodle’s life, throws all sadness aside to bounce around the living room as I collect the paraphernalia of adventure—water bottle. camera, dog leash. In a half and hour we are dropping through the old growth forest on one of her favorite trails— the one leading to a wide curving beach between False and True Outer Point.
Sun may be driving cold from beach and ridge but beneath the thick forest canopy winter holds on making me wish I had worn a wool rather than cotton hat. Shafts of light do penetrate down, mottling the forest understory like the floor of an old barn. In the beaver manufactured swamp one shaft spotlights a yellow knot of emerging skunk cabbage plants while the surrounding dark water forms a mirror for the surrounding trees.
The beach is empty of dog, man and bird when we emerge onto it. There is sun light to stand in and to bring a rich mixture of lights and darks to the snow covered Chilkat Mountains across Lynn Canal. Aki wants to keep to the beach with its sun and promise of dog encounters but follows without protect when I return to the cool forest drama.