Role Reversal


Here we are again—the poodle on one side of a softening expanse of white over  water, me on the other. This time it’s Aki acting with caution, me on impulse. A roaring but narrow Fish Creek separates us. She need only cross a thinning snow bridge to join me on the uphill side. Huddling small on snow made bright by strong sun, the little dog waits for me to return to my senses and her side.

P1120750She who has no memory of her naughty acts is clearly thinking of our visit to the Troll Woods and her dunking in icy pond water, how she charged across thin pond ice towards the sound of a beaver tail slap on water until the ice gave way.  She beams me her most pathetic look then moves, wounded dog style closer to the stream edge. I could explain the physics of then thing or continue climbing the sleep snowy slope with hopes that the invisible tether that connects us will pull her across the snow bridge. Instead I maneuver around the edge of a hemlock tree and recross the bridge, pick up Aki with kind hands, assure her with a similar tone, and cross the snow bridge a third time.

Together we climb on a softening slope of snow up through a mixed softwood forest to packed trail. Aki dashes around on the firm flat snow before trotting back to my side. Two eagles fly lazy circles over us, then head toward the saddle between two rounded peaks with faces scarred by recent avalanches. A child could recreate the scene of pure primary colors with four or five crayons.


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