It’s as hard to ignore the screaming yellow skunk cabbage blossoms as it is to look away from the mountains that surround Gastineau Meadows. I am making a conscious attempt to find beauty on a much smaller scale. This, as any delay in our walk usually does, seems to perturb Aki. She refuses to join me in my search of the wet meadow.
As the little dog keeps her paws dry, I pry back dead blades of grass and find tight buds of cranberry leaves and swelling pollen pods at the tip of Labrador Tea stalks. A scattering of last summer’s cranberries dot mossy patches. In those places reduced to mud by dogs and hikers, the insect eating sundew plants spread their tentacles like tiny sea anemones.
The poodle-mix and I are startled by the sudden appearance of three songbirds. Two of them drive a third one to the ground where it rolls onto its back. All I can make out of their tussle is a confusion of brown and white feathers and a blade of grass clamped in the beak of the downed bird. Before I can raise my camera they are airborne. From the branch of a dead pine tree one of the birds, with the dark head of a junco, gives the little dog and I a nasty stare and is gone.