The promise of sunshine on ice and yellowing trees induced me to bring Aki out to the west shore of Mendenhall Lake. By the time we arrive, the sun is ghosting behind a thickening cloudbank. But clouds don’t obscure the glacier or the sharp peaks that poke through the river of ice. They frame the beauty of cottonwood and willows that line the lakeshore.
Other rain forest dwellers are here, all apparently giddily from lack of rain gear. We can hear their happy noise until it is masked by the booms from the Sunday morning service of the church of powder and shell. My little dog freezes each time one the parishioners fires a high-powered rifle. When they stop shooting so they can safely check their targets, we can hear the yelling of children at play in an impromptu day care. I find myself channeling an old bachelor uncle and lead Aki into the woods where the ground moss softens the noise.