Aki and I are using the Outer Point Trail to reach Shaman Island beach. If we could see it through the clouds, the sun would just be clearing the Douglas Island ridge. Without the snow, it would be dark and even depressive in the woods. It’s amazing how much light fresh snow brings. It highlights the lines of bare-limbed understory plants. The few remaining leaves glow under layers of white flakes. The red famine berries wear crowns of snow.
It’s times like this that I wish Aki could speak. I’d love to know whether she sees snow as anything other than a fun running surface. It doesn’t appear to inhibit her ability to read scent signs. I have to wait often for the little dog to catalogue each new smell and cover it with her own.
Gull screams and shotgun booms reach us while still in the woods. Aki drops closer to the ground each time she hears a blast. But no hunter hunkers in front of his decoys when we break out of the forest. A small raft of bufflehead and harlequin ducks is just pulling away from the beach. Gulls form a line along the beach. Most fly a few feet into the surf when we approach. But a gang of three hold position on a snow covered rock, either wise or foolish enough to trust us.