Partially surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, the City of Anchorage Bowl retains its impurities until rain washes the air clean. It has not rained for several days so the new sun shows above the mountains like a weak light. This early, the sun lacks the strength to burn fog off Mosquito Lake. I ride past the lake and over moose browse to the bike path that cuts through Anchorage’s industrial strip. The path also runs along Ship Creek, now filling with spawning salmon and a swarm of fisherman. The men had better be mindful of bears drawn to the salmon.
To the north, the Alaska Range shines white with morning light, what I can see of it over an idle Caterpillar earthmover. After a train full of tourists sounds a mournful warning to car commuters, I hear a splash. In the front of a sheet metal shop, three beavers gather their winter supply of food wood. Maybe they are at home in this gritty part of town where men and women work hard for their families. But they collect their alder and birch in polluted waters. The sun is too low to light their world. In the pre-dawn gray I only see soft swells and curves and ears but they swim strong and disturb the surface of their pond with their tails. I couldn’t hear the splash because a nearby machine started up for the day.