Little Rewards

Aki, who had been squealing like child Christmas morning when I parked the car, hesitates when I open the door. She can hear the rain slamming the car windshield and feel wind rocking the car. She stares at the icy ground coated with a thin slick of rainwater. Then she leaps out of the car, waddles without conviction to a patch of snow, and pees.

            Water the color of tea streams over the ice still covering Fish Creek. Ice covers the trail too, making it a tricky passage for poodle and her human. Aki gives me her, “Are you sure you want to do this?” look. We are banking Karma, pooch. The big K will owe us if we slip and slide, head into rain and wind, around the pond and down to the creek mouth. What will the pay off be? The orca wolf pack rounding False Outer Point? We are more likely to see a deer sheltering in the old growth.

            Aki gets her reward before we reach the pond. A fat golden retriever galumphs up, tries to stop on the slick ice, and goes into a 180 slide. My guy backtracks to facilitate the doggie meet and greet. Perked up, Aki trots around the pond then stalls when wind forces her head down. I lead on, sure that anyone willing to lean into cold and wet wind on such a flat light day is entitled to a special treat. But no killer whales slice through the waters of Fritz Cove, no deer huddles just off the trail. Something spooks a gathering of gulls when we reach the creek mouth. They form a sparce, white cloud in front of the barely discernable glacier. That will have to do little dog.

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