A profound silence must have settled over Treadwell after they shut down the last stamp mill. Aki the poodle-mix, my daughter, and I have silence on today’s walk among the ruins of the old mining complex. Low clouds and fog have grounded all planes and no boats bounce down Gasteneau Channel. It’s a time for remembering. Aki sniffs the signs left by yesterday’s dog visitors. I look over the channel for the spouts of the pod of killer whales that passed here yesterday; find a nervous harlequin duck flying through the old mine dock pilings. Inside the hard wood forest devouring Treadwell’s ruins, a strip of snow winds around roofless buildings and huge cast iron wheels that once kept the mills running. It’s a comfortable place for ghosts.
On the ninth anniversary of her death, I think of M., a child now forever 14. My daughter skips flat stones from the beach where they both swam on warm summer afternoons. M. would have run through the Treadwell trees and explored the ruins. I can almost see her near the fog line, running down the beach in the rain. We who miss M. must look for peace in clouds that mask mountains, comfort in the rain, and escape from sorrow in happy memories of a giggling girl.