Reunited after a week’s absence, Aki and I patrol the Outer Point Trail. The little dog slips back into her role as monitor of the smells. This morning’s strong sunlight makes her squint each time a pee mail message draws out of the shadows. We are well back from the beach when the sound of gulls and crows shatters the forest quiet.
It’s low tide. Just off the mouth of Peterson Creek pink salmon leap out of the water and then drop back to join a school of their kind killing time until the flood tide arrives to carry them to their spawning grounds. The crows and gulls sound impatient for the fish to die.
The beach is empty of people and the trombolo to Shaman Island is exposed. I carry the little dog across the temporary land bridge, which has become a nursery for shellfish. Vagrant crows and gulls warn us away from the island but I press ahead, walking first on a path of crushed shells between the sparkly-orange rockweed and then the dull black trombolo. I wonder if Aki or the birds think that the little dog is royalty. When it is clear that I won’t be deterred by their noise, the guardian birds circle around and take up station behind us.
Aki is calm in my arms but is slow to move onto the island after I put set her onto a grassy path. The bird din has not stopped. They won’t shut up until we return to the forest. To spare the little dog and I further abuse, I carry her back over the land bridge, the target of crow curses the whole way to the woods.