Shelter From the Storm


Two days ago, a strip of ice made it possible for Aki and I to safely reach the face of Mendenhall Glacier. It formed a bridged for us over a mire of overflow. The next morning, our local radio station broadcasted a warning against crossing the lake to the glacier in the present conditions. This morning, the little dog and I walk down another ribbon of ice. This one wanders through an old growth forest to the beach. It’d be dangerous for anyone not using ice cleats.


Perhaps because of the icy trail, we are alone in the woods. There’s a small-scale blizzard blowing outside but no wind and little snow make it through the forest canopy. No wonder deer shelter from storms among the big trees. It’s cozy-quiet—a good place for a deer to graze and rest.


The beach, when we reach it, would be quiet if not for a family of ravens bickering above us in a spruce tree. Just offshore a raft of surf scoters practice their drill team maneuvers—expanding from a compact raft to form the letter “C.” A small group leaves formation to huddle over a ball of baitfish. Several of the birds sound their “three stooges” goofy call. Soon, all of the scoters are going after the fish.


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