The Table is Set


It’s low tide on the Fish Creek delta. Aki and I could walk at least one half mile to where the Mendenhall River enters Fritz Cove. But the complaints of nearby bald eagles make her nervous. She would be looking over her shoulder the whole time we were in the tidal zone. I’d be nervous too.


The tide, not the eagles would keep me on edge. We would have to drop down into several shallow channels to reach the land bordering the river. Distracted by the need to monitor the incoming tide, I’d have a hard time spotting interesting birds or the deer that left such crisp prints on the snowy trail.


The Tlingit elders teach that when the tide is out, the table is set. We must be between the breakfast and lunch rushes. Only mallards, gulls, and crows occupy the exposed wetlands. While the mallards hunt the diminished watercourse for food, the gulls and crows seem to be sunning themselves.


When an eagle leaves it’s beachside roost and flies in their direction, a large murder of crows, a hundred plus, stir into the air and then return to the tidelands. Three Canada geese burst into a noisy flight, drawing the attention of another eagle. The predator doesn’t bother to follow the geese after they bank into a tight U-turn and fly toward the river.


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