Volunteer Canary

Last night ninety knot gusts rattled our house windows and kept the little dog and her humans from having a good night sleep. Aki and I needed a wind-free zone for our morning walk. We found one. Not even a breeze touched us as we cross the glacial moraine. The temperature was a balmy 19 F. Snow still weighed down the trailside trees while back home, our trees had long been stripped bare by Taku winds.

            We walked, for the first time this winter, on lake ice. The recent freeze up solidified the winter trail across the moraine to Mendenhall Lake. Snow softened the lines of the beavers’ dams and made it almost impossible to make out the shape of their house. We were free to cross their swampy pond and walk between the dead-gray sticks that were once healthy spruce trees. 

            Aki seemed quite at home on the snow, perhaps because she wore her two heaviest wraps. I would have worn my insulated overalls. If I had, I might not have been able to gauge the cold and its effects on the little dog. When I felt chilled, I turned us back toward the car.  I am better suited than Aki to be the canary in the coal mine. 

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