Wild Artists


It was hot on the muskeg meadow, even at 8 am. I could adjust by slipping off my sweatshirt but Aki could do nothing but pant. So I carried away my cup or so of cloudberries and headed with the little dog into the old growth. Strong morning sun reached into the forest to turn a devastated alder bush into what might be museum quality art if the person who killed it acted with artistic, rather than malicious intent. Later we found another sculpture formed when an eagle let one of its white feathers settle on a damaged skunk cabbage leaf.


When we reached the beach, it and Lynn Canal were empty except for a skulk of crows and a woman wadding the submerged causeway that will provide a good trail to Shaman Island at low tide in a couple of hours. I thought of barefooted Irish pilgrims approaching their shrines and for some reason the lone killer whale I watched yesterday from the deck of a friend’s fishing boat. Before slipping back into the water, the big male hurled most of his body over the water surface, enough to show all of his high dorsal fin and a thick white strip that wrapped around his lower body. The whale repeated this one time and disappeared like a magician or stealthy performance artist.



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