Aki is already wet from the snow. It falls in fat flakes that soften the edges of the glacial moraine. But the storm that delivers the snow has grounded planes and apparently discouraged the guys at the firing range. It brings silence that lasts until we are within 30 yards of the Mendenhall River when a raven croaks twice. At this point I am tired from a mile of slogging along the soft trail and ducking under trailside alders bent over with snow and ice. So, I am unprepared for the cloud of ravcns, bald eagles, and magpies that form on my right as I tried to photograph the river.
Around the corner I spot blood on the snow and a deer skeleton. Its rumpled skin is nearby. The eagles escape across the river but the cabal of ravens hold station in some nearby trees. Only two magpies return to the carrion, picking the deer bones while the presence of Aki and I keep the bigger birds away. In this time of famine along the river, I can’t justify remaining near the bones. When we pass the raven sentry on our way home, it croaks the all clear.