Back to the Land of Beavers

P1000958It’s good to be back in Alaska, reunited with Aki after a trip to Washington D.C. and the UK. Taking advantage of jet lag, I take the little dog on an early morning walk over the moraine to the troll woods. It rained most of the night but now sun enriches the green of newly unfurled poplar leaves, which perfume the air with their balsam.

P1000927We are here before the daily startup of Juneau’s industrial tourism machines so no helicopters fly. No buses roar along the edge of the moraine. Only thrush song brakes the silence until reach a lake owned by two beavers. Aki, who fell through the ice covering this lake during an ill advised attempt to visit them one spring, whines as she watches a beaver approach. The beaver spots her and then slowly swims toward the little dog. I watch for several minutes as the beaver swims to within 40 feet, slaps the water with its tail, then continues its approach. It tail slaps the water again when much closer and then disappears.

Barbican Tube Station (Thunderstorm)

Barbican Tube Station (Thunderstorm)On the way back to the car I think about our visit to London, a place yet undiscovered by beavers, where we rarely heard the local language spoken on its streets. While walking from the Seven Dials to Tottenham Court Road tube station, we heard stories told in French, jokes in Italian, and children chastised in Russian. German bounced off the tube station tiles to mix with Swedish and Spanish. Back in Stratford, where we stayed, we only heard when the birth languages of its immigrant population. Pedestrians kept to the right of oncoming traffic like Europeans, not left like Britons. Where, I wondered we’re the English. We found them in Hastings, where words on sandwich boards advertised Devon cream teas or fish chips, and tourist questions were answered in the Queen’s English.





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