False Retreat

This morning the little dog and I sought a trail that wasn’t covered with mushy snow. We found it in the strip of forest that curls around the north end of Douglas Island. The trail there was bare and made for easy walking except where remnants of snow covered the path. An invisible cloud of small birds—dark-eyed juncos and chickadees—almost deafened us with their insect-like chirping. 

            Water poured over the beaver’s dam, which was still covered with decaying ice. Yellow-green shoots of skunk cabbage pushed up through the ice. It felt like winter had abandoned the forest, retreating into the still snow-covered mountains of the Douglas Island Ridge. 

            On the beach fronting the forest, eagles relaxed on the top of waterside-rocks. A scattering of mallards waddled in and out of tiny lines of surf. High tides had flushed away most of the snow from the beach. But no green leaves climbed up the dead stalks of beach grass. Is this another false spring?  

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