Before we left the house, Aki’s other human affixed a gingerbread-themed sticker in the middle of her forehead. This makes the little dog the most Christmassy thing today in the Treadwell Woods. She has little competition. The wood is full of hundred-foot tall spruce trees, some decorated by a flock of dark eyed junkos. Plumped up against the cold, the little songbirds could pass for Christmas ornaments. But the snow that flocked the big trees yesterday has been melted away by this morning’s rain.
Helped by strong wind blowing up Gastineau Channel, an 18-foot-high tide covers Sandy Beach. Without being stopped by a protective beach barrier, waves erode away the soil into which trees along the wood’s edge have sunk their roots. The only things exhibiting holiday happiness are a dozen merganser ducks offshore. They are so at home in the turbulent water that they preen their feathers as they bounce up and down the swells.
Aki and I should be used to low contrast Christmases. Thanks to climate change, the rain forest has seen few white ones in the past years. While we long for the winter crispness this time of year, we can’t ignore the beauty of trees grown tall thanks to an abundance of rain.