Soft Beauty

Wanting at least one more chance to ski, I drive through the rain to Mendenhall Lake. We have it to ourselves. Fog and clouds obscure the glacier and mountains. Spruce covered peninsulas appear and disappear in the moving gloam. Aki breaks through the snow crust every fourth step while my skis keep me on top of it. For the first time all winter, I have it easier than the little dog. 

            At first, I am disappointed with the views. Then the glacier ghosts into view for a moment. The ice color deepens then fades. The glacier disappears. I can briefly make out the silhouette of a Canada goose and those of a raft of Canada geese. Then the soft power of the day returns. 

            We ski over to the river and follow it to a section broken into channels by rocky islands. It’s a place of eddies that trap food for mallards and swans. I count 9 trumpeter and (I think) 2 tundra swans.  They must be new arrivals, taking a break from their northern migration. The trumpeters have formed a community on one of the islands. Resident mallard ducks crowd up close to them. Downriver, the two tundra swans cuddle off a snowy point. 

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