Aki is having a Goldilocks’ moment. The snow on this trail is just right—not deep, not crusty. Just the stuff for rolling in. Last night’s high tide trimmed the edge of Aki’s snow pack. I can walk on frozen sand while the little dog runs full bore in the snow.
We have sun but feel little of its warmth because of the wind. It blows at a steady clip from the south. A small clutch of mallards hug the north face of a gravel island where the wind can’t chill them. One drake, with its metallic-green head works to separate a mussel from its purple shell.
A thin skim of sea ice lays broken over sea grass stubble. It crunches under Aki’s paws after she leaves the snow and follows me over an icy covered stretch of beach. She’d rather be back in her little snow belt. But as my self-appointed protector, she places my safety first. I, who spend most of the time scanning for hovering eagles that could carry her off, see our relationship as one based on mutual assistance.