Sheep Creek Delta


Happy Saint Lucy day little dog. Aki looks at with me like someone who had to watch a trusted friend eat warm saffron buns with his morning coffee while all she had to look forward to was a breakfast of dried kibble. Fortunately she forgot about my neglect by the time we climbed into the car for a drive out to the Sheep Creek delta.


Using our car’s magic blue tooth connector, we listen to music recorded on my phone. This morning that device doesn’t allow me to choose songs. Instead we have to settle for an eclectic mix tape as the phone shuttles through my music library. After The Pogues finish a song about brown eyes, Yo Yo Ma starts playing one of the more obscure Bach cello suites. We reach the trailhead before the phone can shuttle over to the Texas Tornados. As if she doesn’t care for Bach, Aki bursts out of the car and into a heavy rain when I opened the door.


It’s high tide so most of the delta is under water. What seems like every mallard in the greater Juneau area hugs the beach or sleeps on it. When I close the car door, one of the mallards makes a sarcastic chuckle. Crows have crowded onto the mid-channel navigation aid. More of their murder stand on a nearby gravel bar even though it is covered with a inch of water. When the tide turns in a few minutes and retreats from their gravel bar, the crows will fly to another one closer to the beach that was dry when theirs was wet.


We won’t see or hear an eagle during our beach walk. But on the drive home the car will pass under a trio of them jockeying for position over a beach with a brace of stubborn ravens. The center of their temporary universe is something dead. I look on the beach but see only rocks and rubble.


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