There are no other humans or dogs in the forest but we are not alone. Like a lost explorer about to be snake bit in a equatorial jungle, I am almost deafened by the racket made by unseen birds. Varied thrush whistle, three-toed woodpeckers tap, Stellar’s jays and kingfishers scold. I search for a glimpse of a bird but have to settle for a spider web weighed down with rain.
Aki leads me around the now ice-free beaver pond. Was it just last week that we walked on ice across it to the beavers’ lodge? Rotting ice still covers parts of the pond but it will be gone soon. The green cones of skunk cabbage places poke up from the waters of a nearby stream. New blossoms hang like Japanese lanterns from blue berry plants. Spring has finally arrived in the woods.
I have better bird watching when we reach the beach. Mallards feed, heads plunged under the water, near the mouth of Peterson Creek. A raft of frisky golden eye ducks work water further off shore. I almost missed the American robin searching for food among dried stalks of beach grass. Aki never spotted the robin even though the bird and I stared at each other for more than a minute. I’m the first to look away.