Reflections

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Intense winter light spotlights seven mallard ducks fleeing over a flooded tidal meadow. Behind and a little above, a white-headed bald eagle wings after them. Unable to gain on the ducks, the eagle snaps off a turn and flies into a nearby spruce tree. The ducks swing into a curving U-turn and fly past the perched eagle. I watched the scene while sitting on a driftwood log with ice cleats in a gloved hand. Aki, whose nose always directs her away from visual drama, is twenty feet away with her back turned to the eagle/duck show.

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It’s a day for reflections, physical and mental. A 17-foot high tide has swollen Eagle River, lifting small ice pans from the beach and creating a mirror for the mountains carved by the Herbert and Eagle Glaciers. I reflect, once again, on how a mountain’s reflection is always more intense than the mountain itself. I know it would take little, maybe a half hour of searching the Internet, to find an explanation for this phemomina. But would that knowledge enhance or diminish the thrill I get when comparing beauty with its reflection?

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Aki, whose nose if much more powerful than her eyes, has little interest in things reflected in river water. She didn’t join me when I tramped through devil’s club plots and around windfallen trees for an unobstructed view of reflected mountains. But I didn’t have to worry about her bolting. I knew that, like a dotting mother, she would wait for her foolish charge to return, standing on a perfectly good trail along the river that would eventually delivered us into sunlight.

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