Aki and I have returned to the riverside forest where the little dog has had more than one run in with a bear. After the last encounter I decided to postpone future visits until the bears are safely in their winter beds. We will see no bear sign during our visit. For the most part, there is nothing for them to eat here. After the salmon spawn, the place goes as quiet as South Franklin Street after the last cruise ship leaves.
While the place is a museum of quiet beauty, I miss the drama of the other seasons. Winter snow covers the forest floor and brightens the trailside spruce with white flocking. Then we will have spring flowers to enjoy—starting with the Japanese lantern shaped blueberry blossoms. Of course, summer is a riot of flowers, berries, and salmon.
Even on this grey, late autumn day, you can find a little bit of summer drama. A half-an-hour into the woods we find three bright red cranberries hanging from a leafless branch. They have been ignored by bears and birds that gorged into the fall on blue berries and huckleberries. Perhaps their purpose is more aesthetic—to give tiny but bright counterpoints on fall days when winter seems so far away.