On the Margins


Rain-slick ice covers the trail into the Treadwell Ruins. Thin strips of grass form margins on both side of the ice. Aki and I watch an older hiker maneuver down one of the grass verges, using a walking stick to keep from falling. The little dog and I follow, she sniffing, me dancing around islands of ice or dog poop. It’s the only way to add excitement to this gray, wet visit to the ruins.


I manage to descend through Treadwell to the ice-free beach and spot a bald eagle perched on an old mine ventilation shaft. The eagle ignores us, which is not surprising as 100 meters of seawater separate us from the bird.


After we move down beach a raven lands on a short piling 10 meters ahead. Turning its back on the little dog and I, it looks as relaxed as a drinker on his favorite bar stool. When we’ve halved the distance, close enough to make out the patterns of purple and black feathers on the bird’s back, an Australian shepherd dog dashes past us and chases the raven off its perch. The raven calmly lands on a 3-meter high piling. Another raven occupies the top of a similar piling a few meters away. The shepherd circles one of the occupied pilings. Neither raven move even when the shepherd dog rises up on its hind legs and reaches up the piling with its front paws. In seconds they could both be perched high in a beachside alder, away from the pesky dog. But that would end the excitement.


4 thoughts on “On the Margins

  1. jmnowak

    The birds know they’re safe! Lol. Also, I had to think twice what you meant. But, we call them sheep dogs, the Collie, and usually they are just b+w not merle. Luv the pilings foto.


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