Summer is late to come on in this part of the rain forest. We are only 30 miles as the raven flies north of home, where the ferns long ago unfurled and blue berry bushes are already setting fruit. Here, along the Eagle River, tightly wrapped scrolls still top the bracken-like ferns. Wild cucumber plants have yet to flower.
Aki leads me through an old growth spruce forest to a wooden bridge that crosses a swollen slough. In a month or so, the slough water will churn with spawning salmon. If we visit then, we will have to take care not to startle a fishing bear. Today all we have to worry about is slipping on the rain-slick boards that provide the only trail across a swampy meadow.
Near the end of the meadow, sprays of elderberry and service berry plant form a low canopy over the trail. A days’ worth of rain clings the green leaves and white flowers of both bushes. The little poodle-mix passes under the obstruction without disturbing a drop. Aki passing beneath the arbor without dislodging a drop. It all falls on me when I stoop to pass through.
After shaking off water like a wet Aki, I follow her back to the car, hurrying past shooting stars, buttercups, wild rhododendrons, Canada geese, and a red breasted sap sucker very intent on its work.