Eagles and Smoke

Eagle screams are more prevalent than gull complaints this morning. Normally the screams make Aki cringe. Today she ignores them. Is the little dog going deft or has she finally forgotten the interaction with an eagle that made her distrust the big birds? She responds to my whistle summons so she can still hear. 

            Forest fire smoke still obscures the sky and softens the outlines of mountains. When we can see the sun, it mimics a glowing coal. Up north, large swaths of the Kenai Peninsula still burn. To the northeast Yukon hectares of forests are afire. I can almost taste the smoke. 

            We walk along the Mendenhall River, passing underneath roosting eagles. One watches a brother ripping flesh from a fish that it plucked from the river.  We could wait for a one of the eagles to try for a fish. But that might test Aki’s patience or make her remember why she used to be so scared of eagles. 

We climb up a gap in the beachside cliff and take a forest trail back to the car. It’s all eagles inside the forest. Their white guano dots the understory plants. One screams each time we approach its roosting tree. Every hundred feet we find one of their feathers. Just before reaching the car I almost step on an eagle feather. It looks like a child trimmed it with scissors. 

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