Back to Eagle River

eagle riverSince May, salmon have passed up Eagle River to spawn in its tributaries; bears have owned its shores, drawn by the fish and later berries; Aki and I have gone elsewhere on our walks.
dc    I can’t hold out any longer so this morning we drive out the north road from rainy Juneau to the riverine forest where last night’s cloud cover is already giving way to blue sky and shafts of sunlight. We find no scat on the trail, no half-eaten salmon carcass placed like a warning by a just departed bear. On the tidal meadow, the skins and boney parts of dead silver salmon lay like clothes abandoned by a teenager on his bedroom floor. The eagles, ravens, and other scavengers have left nothing of the bodies to interest a bear.trees        Aki and I drift into a vague mental space. As sunlight intensifies the modest displays of fall color, the little dog and I become separated. A diminutive herding dog, Aki normally stays close, as if to keep me from wandering into trouble. This morning, I have to whistle and call until she appears high up a grass-covered hill. She searches around from me in jerky motions and then dashes down at her top speed. I can’t blame her for getting lost on this familiar ground. Wasn’t I lost in peace and the yellow leaves when the sun hit my face for the first time in more than a week?clouds

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