The smell of fresh-sawn spruce was the first clue. Saw dust on the trail and a nearby jumble of tree rounds confirmed that the wind blew down another tree while we were in Idaho. The wind that dropped this one, snapped off the trunk of another nearby mature spruce.
When nature takes beautiful trees like these, I try to accept it like I try to accept that death is a necessary part of life. But first I allow myself a little moment to mourn.
Aki would prefer to keep moving. But she stands without complaint, shivering as rain soaks into her curls. I look from the downed spruce to other, older wind-fallen tress. Electric green moss softens their lines. Hundreds of spruce and hemlock seedlings have sunk their roots into the rotting nursery logs. Nature wastes nothing when left alone by man.
Having pushed Aki to the point of impatience, I start down the trail before the little dog starts to whine.