Adapting

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Aki and I are alone when we leave the Treadwell woods for Sandy Beach. The minus low tide has uncovered a huge expanse of the fine mine tailings that we call “sand.” Racing her impatience, the little dog charges onto the beach, makes a tight circle, and then runs along the high tide line with her nose close the sandy surface.  I understand her reaction. So much openness also makes me want to run because we live in a deep-sided valley drained by a fjord and most of the flat ground is forested.

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While I consider walking to the edge of Gastineau Channel, two small white birds (gulls?) dive on a pair of northern goshawks. The goshawks had been on the beach.  Their tiny tormentors drive them out and over the channel. One of the goshawks eludes its pursuer in the air over Suicide Falls and arcs back to Sandy Beach and flies over our heads. The other goshawk is still being harassed as it flies out of our sight.

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After watching the second goshawk disappear, I count four cruise ships docked for the day near Downtown Juneau. Thousands of their passengers are disembarking. Many of them will take a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The richest will hire helicopters to land them on the Juneau Icefield. We will hear helicopters and tourism float planes all day. The little dog and I have had to adapt to this seasonal invasion, as have the whales, deer, eagles, wolves, bears, goshawks and gulls.

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