Aki and I break out of the old growth, after maneuvering the latest wind-fallen hemlock, and spot a line of sunlit gulls that shine like a string of white lights strung over dark water. Other shafts of light enrich the color of the spruce and hemlock on Shaman Island. Another makes the new snow on an Admiralty Island mountain sparkle.


To appreciate the emotional impact of one of these rain-forest winter breakouts, imagine the sudden appearance of something joyful, say a child’s smile, during your workday. You are content with the gray nine to five life, appreciate the warmth generated by co-worker relationships and positive evaluations, until the child laughs, then flashes that smile. That how today’s sudden appearance of sun light and blue skies hits me today.


The forecast is for more rain, clouds, and fog—a return to winter’s more subtle beauty. We will be able to appreciate the subtleties, thanks to this unexpected release of light.



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