Posters inviting people to an American Fourth of July celebration usually feature sunlight, fireworks, and attractive legs descending from bathing suits. One inviting Juneauites to our Fourth festivities this year should portray rain falling on soaked streets from clouds that seem to tear themselves apart on the mountainside spruce. If the clouds don’t clear or at least lift, they will swallow tonight’s fireworks. We will peer up into the rain as each explosion paints the gray sky with orange, red, or yellow light.
Aki doesn’t mind the rain and appreciates that it cuts down on the amateur firework explosions that usually rattle her during the Fourth of July weekend. She would have enjoyed yesterday’s whale watching trip where she would have attracted almost as much attention on the boat as the humpback whales that we watched. Once we saw a stellar sea lion dogging a feeding whale. But my favorite view was of the clouds breaking open above the Chilkat Mountains. They parted, not to dump more rain, but to expose sun and patches of blue. The eyes of every Juneauite on the boat turned from a surfacing whale to the lightening sky.
This morning it is raining hard as Aki as I start walking up the Brotherhood Bridge Trail. In the first meadow we spot two patches of crushed grass where a bear slept last night. Later I photograph a caramel-color slug feasting on a devil’s club stalk. On a normal day I’d turn away from the slug and search for the bear. But today, under low. gray skies, there is little competition for the lovely slug.