Aki and I are back on the glacial moraine. So is the rain. The experts promise us five inches of precipitation before Friday. The heavy rain works it usual magic, flushing the trails clean of other people. Raindrops beat out a steady, but not too pushy tattoo on my rain gear and make the trailside willow leaves dance. They force my attention down, where most of today’s beauty and drama can be found. I want to stop and study the fallen cottonwood leaves, each a flame shaped abstract of yellows, greens and browns. But Aki lacks the patience. She pushes on down the trail to Crystal Lake where the Labradors swim after owner tossed toys. I hang back to photograph some leaves and a huge mushroom that muscles its way out of the ground moss.
The little dog’s annoyance increases when I break trail to check out the little forest burn. After two or three years of desolation, a carpet of green lupine, some supporting stalks of deep blue flowers, now covers the blackened ground. Nothing can be done for the young spruce and cottonwood trees that were left dead but standing by the fire. Someday, new trees will grow in ashes enriched by fallen lupine and willows leaves. They just need patience, sunshine, and a reliable supply of rain.