Taking Sides

Aki was angry with me this morning. It was my fault. I slipped out of the house for an early coffee date with a friend. She stayed behind. My sin only postponed our walk for 90 minutes but, for her, it was unpardonable. Aki’s other human had to pull her out of her kennel so we could leave for the Outer Point Trail. 

            Aki’s anger gave way to excitement by the time we pulled into the empty trailhead parking area. I am pleased to know no one will be in front of us. Aki might feel disappointment by the lack of possible dog encounters.  The forest is a silent place until a pair of Stellar’s jays scold us. Then an eagle, perched just above in an old growth spruce, screams. 

            I wonder why the eagle is here when salmon are staging at the mouth of nearby Peterson Creek. Then we see the duck. It’s the same mallard hen that weeks ago had defended her chicks from an eagle and a heron. She’s alone this morning, paddling near an elevated walkway. There is no sign of her chicks. 

            Normally I don’t take sides in the violent encounters that happen in the woods. Animals have to die so that others can live. But I find myself hoping that the at least some of the mallard’s kids survive. 

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