Pushing The Tide


When we stop, Aki lifts her front right paw off the snow, drops it down and lifts up her rear left one. She alternates feet like this, doing a slow motion cold weather dance, until I switch off the camera and head down the trail. It’s cold, nine degrees Fahrenheit but there is no wind to riffle the incoming tide. I press as though rising waters ooze our escape path.


Aki and I slip on the thick layer of salt-water ice that formed over the trail during the last high tide. The tide must have rinsed away any interesting animal smells but the little poodle-mix doesn’t hold back. When the sound of rising water cracking ice encourages our retreat, I take a trail that parallels the channel’s edge. But, Aki doesn’t join me. Instead, she moves quickly onto the alder-lined path that leads to the car. I follow, walking hunched over to pass under a tunnel of alders themselves bent over by loads of frost and snow.


I don’t have to encourage Aki to hop into the car. But she doesn’t object when I drive to the Fish Creek trailhead and ask he to join me on another walk down to salt water. Here, at least, the tide hasn’t washed away the smells.



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