Snow still blocks the road to the Fish Creek trailhead. Aki cruises on top of its crust while I break through. But there is a path of sorts busted through by past visitors. Unfortunately, they all had longer gaits than me so I have to stretch out to match their boot prints. Ahead, in the trees lining Fish Creek pond a murder of crows besiege a lone eagle. I can hear their racket over the sound of my boots crunching through frozen snow.
We must be the first human-dog teams to visit this morning because the crows let us get close before stirring. I expect to find the carcass they fight over but no deer bones litter the wetland grass. Rafts of mallards have tucked themselves against the far stream bank, as if they needed shelter on this windless day.
Two smells of spring hit me when I reach a section of beach washed of snow by the tides: mud and rotting seaweed. Feet away, the land is locked in the sterile hold of winter. But here the necessary work of decomposition already paves the way for summer growth and autumn harvest.