Giving In


While Aki sniffs at a spot back up the trail, I watch drops of water fall onto the surface of a beaver pond. Minutes ago, before the rising wind shook droplets from an overhanging tree, the pond surface was still. Grey clouds clogged the sky. Rain fell. The forest showed only muted earth colors. But the sun broke through as the wind started to shake loose the raindrops.

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If not for the working songs of birds and the creaking of wind-animated trees, I could hear the spat of drops hitting the pond. It’s too early in the day for the start up of the industrial tourism machinery. Aki and I are alone on the trail.

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I should be at Tai Chi class. But Aki gave me a hard look each time I tried to explain the need to postpone this morning’s walk. She held the moral high ground. I had gone fishing for salmon yesterday rather than take her for a walk. In order to shift things to a more equal footing, I reminded her of how, last night, she had enjoyed eating the crisp skin of one of the salmons that I had caught while she stayed home. I wasn’t surprised when she rejected the argument. The little poodle-mix tends to remember her disappointments better than her happy moments.

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What started as an enterprise driven by guilt turned into one of wonderment after the sun broke through the clouds. Aki, who never seems to raise her noise more than three inches above the ground during our walks, probably doesn’t even recognize the power of the sun to turn rain soaked leaves into jewelry as it is doing this morning on the False Outer Point Trail.

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