Winter White

Today, winter white has replaced rain forest gray in the skies above Douglas Island. It’s the kind of sky that dominated winter days in the Western Alaskan towns where I once lived. The sky littles contrast to the snow-covered ground. 

            When the little dog and I enter an old growth forest, we seem to move from winter to fall. The forest canopy captured most of the snow that fell here during yesterday’s squalls. Today, it blocks our view of the white skies. 

Paper-thin triangles of ice form a puzzle on the surface of the beaver pond. Since beavers keep hidden during the day there is no reason not to follow Aki down the trail to the beach. There, a small raft of golden eye ducks ride the swells. No sunshine reaches the beach or the offshore waters. But on the other side of Lynn Canal, the Chilkats look like they are posing for a Sydney Lawrence painting.  

On the drive home we stop at a roadside waterfall where spray has coated the branches of every tree and bush with a half-inch of ice It’s 25 degrees F., cold enough for freezing spray but too warm to stop the flow of the waterfall. The ice is more gray than white and would turn translucent if sunshine could reach it. I almost expect to find ferries peeking out from between the icy spruce limbs, or at least a cautious jay. 

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