The time of autumn sun is over. Rain comes this afternoon. Aki and I are squeezing in a quick walk through the Treadwell mining town ruins. Aki will see no dogs on the walk and we will only spot four people. We are the only ones to see a random shaft of sunlight strike a mallard hen as she wanders among old wharf pilings. The shaft moves north across Gastineau Channel to make Slide Creek sparkle for a few seconds before clouds cut off the spotlight.
We might be the first to notice the grey and white columns of red alders form a tangled prison for still-yellow Sitka mountain ash leaves. If we walked here yesterday, I would have been draw to the flashy show of colors of cottonwoods and ashes against the always-dark green spruce. But in today’s softer light, the Alder’s strong form and subtle palette can compete with yellowing leaves for attention.