Aki and I are back on the glacier moraine where all the leaves have already fallen. I am not surprised. Winter always comes first to the moraine. The glacier, the big river of ice, sees to that. There is still some color to be found. Green and yellow islands of grass stand above new ice on the lakes. A few stubborn leaves hang by a thread from frosty willow branches.
I have to coax the little dog off the main dog-walking trail and onto a rougher one that leads to the river. She stands for a minute at the junction, trying to use her mental powers to bend me to her will. When the invisible rubber band that connects us stretches to the breaking point, she gallops to me over crisp cottonwood leaves, producing a sound like that made by horse hooves on firm ground.
I am angered by the presence of wide-tire bicycle tracks on the soft trail. Just one pass of a fat bike over it last weekend reduced sections of the trail to a muddy gruel. Some of it sticks to my boots.
We find other, more welcome tracks at the river. Yesterday, before it froze, a deer crossed over the sandy beach and swam across the river. Frost has filled in one of the cloven tracks, now preserved in frozen sand until the next thaw.