Aki Shows the Way

channel fogAn earworm has crawled into my brain. I blame the alders with their snow-covered limbs that reach over the trail for light. On days with good visibility, they appear to lean out in supplication to Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts. But today, a screen of falling snow obscures the mountains but I am still singing Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” over and over again. Without the mountains as their target, the alders look to be leaning out for something—the snow or something spiritual. Are they are Cohen’s ‘heroes in the seaweed, children in the morning…leaning out for love.” Will, “they will lean that way forever?” Heroes, children, and all of us that fall in between, we all long for love and the meaning it brings to our lives.


Aki, no long a child and a hero only in her own mind, might seek our affection when at home but this morning cares only for trotting over fresh snow and the scent of the meadow’s nocturnal visitors. We step on tracks of mink, red squirrel, and rabbit slowly filling with falling snow. During this rain-cursed winter, this is a rare opportunity so I ignore everything, including the direction of our progress, and scan for more animal tracks. Aki scouts a way across the meadow and into a strip of forest where we have never walked. Ten minutes later I realize that one of is lost: me. Without the mountains for reference, I am disoriented. Aki stops, wags her tail, and looks confident. “Okay little dog, find us a way home.” She returns us to a familiar trail just before it hits the access road that we can take back to the car. “Try not to brag, LD.”


can take back to the car. “Try not to brag, LD.”

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