A Warm and Cold Beauty


Aki is ready to leave. It’s the wind blowing across Fish Creek Pond. She turns to stare at the pond each time a gust lifts her ears. The combination of wind and cold has numbed my face and hands but I want to push on a little further just in case. If the little dog asked what I expect to see when we reach the Fritz Cove overlook , I’d tell her I just have a feeling that we will find beauty if not a little excitement.


Aki follows me up over a rise just in time to watch a trio of sandpipers flying low over the beach with what looks like a peregrine falcon flying ten feet above them. The falcon breaks off its hunt when it spots me and turns into the wind, which carries it high and away from us. The pilgrim hunter flies off to find better luck on the other side of the creek.


The wind blows harder here, raising white caps on even small patches of open water. We are in shade but the sun shines like a search light on the side of Bullard Mountain so that it casts a wavy shadow onto the glacier. It also illuminates a tall, thin house on the opposite bank of the creek. Aki would love be in that house curled up on a patch of sunshine warming the floor. I’d be there too, if I could, maybe drinking a coffee and admiring the view.


I follow Aki back to the car, thinking about this morning’s sunrise over Gastineau Channel. The minute the sun struck the top of Sheep Mountain fierce winds flew down its valleys to whip up dervishes of spray that raced across the channel. Above, the sky glowed red, apricot, orange, and blue—a mix of warm and cold beauty.


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