On a gray day, one without weather drama, Aki and I climb a gravel road leading to Gastineau Meadows. Aki sniffs along in work-dog fashion. If she saw the two used syringes laying orange and white in trailside grass, she gave no indication. Hopefully, the children who played loudly on the nearby school grounds haven’t found similar needles. I’ll trash them along with bags of Aki’s scat after we finish the hike.
I won’t notice any birds or animals on the meadow, except for the water skimmer bugs that skitter across the meadow ponds with the tips of their legs jammed just under the water’s surface. The surrounding mountains—Juneau, Sheep, Jumbo, Gastineau—will look tired, like aging actors in late morning light. A light fog will rise off the channel and threaten to give the mountains cover and then dissipate before fulfilling its promise.