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.


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?


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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