This is our last walk together for a couple of weeks. Aki knows that I am leaving. She watched me pack a bag last night. We take the usual route through Downtown, squinting against a strong morning light. It clarifies with sharp contrasts of darks and lights and throws cloud shadows on to the flank of Mt. Juneau. On a telephone pole someone has attached a “Have You Seen This Cat?” sign. Beyond it I can see the nest of our neighborhood eagles. They usually carry off a few felines during famine time.
The little dog dawdles, stopping too often to sniff and mark spots with her scent. She doesn’t need clarifying light to learn who passed through here during the night. Where the hillside drops steeply away from Gastineau Avenue, three ravens sun themselves high in cottonwood trees. Two break off twigs, perhaps for a nest. The third stares down channel where dark clouds climb over the Douglas Island Ridge.
Down on South Franklin Street, a young woman pulls her luggage between shuttered tee shirt shops and jewelry stores and stops in front of a tropical clothing store. She opens a suitcase and fluffs out its contents, including a pink dress with fancy black trim suitable for 1890’s dance hall work. The police will soon find her in this light, make her pack up and move on like they do the other homeless.