Low Tide at Fish Creek


We have one more day of gray before the sun returns. According to the weatherman, it will bring glacier-borne winds to chill Chicken Ridge and the rest of Downtown Juneau. The promised wind will make short work of the frost feathers now decorating town. Thier angular crystals cling to almost every surface from car roof to spruce tips. They brighten the bare-branched alders that line Fish Creek. Aki and I visit there to enjoy the show.


Aki finds a brace of miniature collie dogs to chase near the Fish Creek Pond but otherwise we have the place to ourselves. Leaving the pond, we walk down an icy trail that splits a frosty forest of beach roses and cow parsnip stalks to a spot offering an unobstructed view of Fritz Cove and the Chilkat Mountains beyond.


All the bird action is near the tide line where mallards grumble, a heron wades, and a bald eagle rests on a rock. The sky hints at the change of weather. Rather than forming a locked pearl and gray ceiling above the mountains, the clouds scatter and pastel pinks and purples paint their bottoms.


On our return to the car I hear what sounds like a murder of happy crows. When we get closer I can tell that it is a chorus made by children playing a pickup game of hockey on a small pond. Even if they look up from their ice, they wouldn’t be able to see the pastel clouds, the heron or the eagle. They wouldn’t even see the mountains. But their apparent joy exceeds mine.


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