Aki and I are on the Gastineau Meadows, back together after my weeklong trip to Minneapolis for writing stuff. During my absence, the little dog stayed with friends who care for her, but a week apart has made both of us a little more excited about this walk than usual.
It’s early so rich Arles-like light floods the meadow like it does in the first hours of a sunny day. Aki sips dew from new grass then walks around with a severed stalk dangling like a cigarette from her mouth. Her prop flies away when she barks at something that just dashed to cover in a scattering of bull pines. I look in the direction she indicates with her muzzle but only see twisted pines and passive muskeg. More of the same. Last winter, I followed tracks of deer, lynx and even an insomniac bear across this meadow. But only Aki saw the animals that laid them in the snow.
Our disparity of sight reminded me of the AWP conference I just attended in the Twin Cities. At many of the panel discussions, I could follow the presenter’s presentation and even recognized the essay or poem used for reference. But during lectures on how to solve one of my many writing problems, I saw nothing but new tracks in the snow.