There is no point in denying it. Today’s flat light robs even this mountain meadow of most of its beauty. Not even the scattering of new snow on the muskeg can brighten the scene. It’s a day to appreciate forms of the meadow’s stunted pines and the bare limbs of willows.
It is also a day to envy Aki’s powerful nose. With it she can read recent stories written by passing animals. Taking a clue from the little dog I ignore the surrounding mountains to concentrate on tracks left on the meadow snow. Here the hoof of a black tail deer cut deep into the muskeg when the deer leaped in panic. Near the deer tracks are the shallower one made by coyote by a predator that knows the conditions favor him.
After we leave the meadow, the little dog and I visit a beautifully made dam that curves across a small, but deep creek valley. It was poured with care long ago and given a fine, concrete finish. The dam was designed to channel the creek into a flume, harnessing the water to run a mill. Aki eyes me while I stand on the top of the dam, amazed that on this flat light day, this industrial fabrication exceeds the beauty of God’s surrounding mountains.