Little Things


Aki loves this mountain meadow trail for the dog encounters it usually offers. I’m drawn here for the impressive views of Mountains Juneau, Jumbo, and Gastineau. Due to a lack of dogs and too thick a cloud cover, we both have to find alternative things of interest. For my little dog it is smells that seem to hang over the trail like ghosts. She also enjoys making half-hearted charges after robins trying to draw us away from their nests. Me, I have to find drama in the small things.


Labrador tea plants already display their little magenta lanterns. From disturbed ground insect eating sundews emerge to spread their sticky traps. On the larger meadow ponds water bug scoot across the surface until a light wind raises tiny swells that challenge their precarious control of the water tension that keeps them afloat. A thick shaft of sunlight breaks through to illuminate yellow-green poplar growth and the rufus-colored chest of a hummingbird. The tiny thing hovers in front of me for seconds, soars until it is higher than the highest spruce, then dives toward the road where Aki trots. Even after such as masterly flight, I can’t believe that the tiny thing made the long flight to Alaska. Maybe the hummingbird, like some of the old timers teach, rode up from Mexico snuggled in the feathered body of a goose.


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