Wet Birds, Confused Plants

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This morning’s steady downpour has bought Aki and I some solitude. It’s just us, a handful of eagles and one soaking wet raven. The eagles are waiting for the late arrival of silver salmon. One dries its wings in a bare cottonwood tree.  The raven looked bored and skeptical before it turned its back on us, defecated and then flew away.

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It’s still warm—-well above freezing. This seems to have confused the alders. Some have set spring-green pollen cones that will blacken and die in the next hard frost. Bright green blades of grass poke up through this years dead growth. The sights shakes my faith in the ability of nature to adjust to changes in the season. When we lived in the Yup’k village of Aniak, one of the elders warned me not to transplant garden starts until the birch leaves were as big as squirrel ears. The wise trees could be trusted not to leaf out before the last spring frost. Today’s overly optimistic plant behavior makes me wonder if the old wisdoms are still valid.

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