High Water


T.S. Elliot claimed that April is the cruelest month. But he didn’t live in a rain forest. I nominate October for the title. For Southeast Alaska, October is a month of waves—one North Pacific storm surge after another passes over us. But between the storms, we often enjoy brief breaks of sun that bring out the beauty in the perpetually wet landscape. We have had Octobers full of clear, crisp days. Memories of those Octobers make today’s walk through the rain forest bittersweet.


Today’s storm raised the water levels in the forest beaver ponds to flood stage. Aki and I have to leap across rivulets of overflow. One is so wide and deep that Aki has to wade chest deep to cross it. Even through she has spent many days walking in the rain, the little dog always tries to avoid the wet or muddy portions of the trail. So she hesitated because wading into the half-a-meter wide stream of pond overflow. Then she minced across it slowly, as if testing the gravel bottom. Worried that the current would carry her away, I almost lifted her up. But she was across before I could help.


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