We’re climbing the short gravel road that leads Gastineau Meadows. It’s past eight in the morning but sunrise colors still show through a lamb’s wool sky. Short, but intense wind gusts rattle through the remaining alder leaves and hit Aki in her tail section. The little dog drops her rear and looks over her shoulder.
Climate change hasn’t managed to slow the sun’s yearly retreat from the north but it might be extending the meadow’s displays of fall color. Colonies of red sorrel plants circle the bases of dying bull pine trees. Dogwood, wild crabapple, and Sitka mountain ash leaves are patterned with of yellows, reds, and browns. I dawdle, hoping for sunshine to break through the marine layer to enrich the show. But Aki, who left the house before breakfast, throws me the stink eye.