The king salmon are late this year. The lack of fishing boats or orcas in Smuggler Cove screams their absence. Missing also is the sun. It hides behind the wall to ceiling clouds that dome Juneau in gray. In the rainforest, Aki flashes her impatient posture because I stop too often to focus on small beauty—rain drops lined like peas in a folded leaf, green blueberries, and a fireweed flower bud. What does the little dog expect? With the forest crowded with full summer growth, I can’t see the big picture. It’s a day for micro views and listening to the birds.
We walk through clouds of bird song: robin’s relentlessly happy ear worm, an eagles touchy falsetto screech, the disharmony of crow complaints, raven’s sarcastic chant, the jack hammering of a red breasted sap sucker, and a great blue heron’s barnyard squawk. The call of the elegant heron startles out a memory of two of the long legged birds, each with head feathers that formed elegant hats. They moved like ballet dancers through a shallow pool, struck with cobra quickness at sand lances, flipped and swallowed their prey like a juggler of peanuts. “Little dog, what does that graceful bird need with a lovely singing voice?”