Shooting Stars and Alder



I’m impatient to see if the shooting stars are out on Gastineau Meadow. But Aki won’t be hurried. A scent stops her dead, makes her back track, turn ninety degrees and trot back on a path inscribing a right triangle. When a different smell sends her on another geometric path, I study the red alders that bow out toward the trail. Their wood is almost perfect for carving portrait masks. This makes me think of my father and the alder mask I carved after his death.


Done with her investigations, Aki slips around me and takes point on our walk onto the meadow. When I stop to photograph a wild rhododendron or meat-eating sundew, the little dog stares at me, apparently forgetting who slowed our earlier progress. Brat.

2We push on and find the small section of meadow where shooting stars grow and find them in bloom. My dad learned to love the shooting stars that grew on meadows near his Montana home. Maybe he passed this love on to me, They are one of my favorite wild flowers.1


As we back track to the car, I think again about dad’s alder mask and how carving it helped me grieve his death. Writing an essay about it help further. If you have the time, can read the essay, which was published in the fourth edition of Twisted Vine Literary Journal. ( ).




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