While Aki pees, I study a collection of rubber boots. Once children wore them for splashing through puddles or crossing shallow streams. Now leaky with rot, they’ve been turned them into flower planters and set in a line on the top of a fence rail. As the little dog drags me toward the next good smell, I wonder if the parents of the booted children couldn’t bear to say goodbye to the used up footwear. Do the purple flowers poking out of the tops of camouflage wellingtons remind them of a four-year-old’s laughter.
Excited by the unexpected appearance of the sun, Aki and I walk to the shore of Gastineau Channel, were the sculpture of a breaching humpback whale points to the blue sky. Two women with masks circling their necks talk while sitting in chairs six feet apart. A salmon seiner motors past them as it heads down channel to Taku Inlet.
We use the sea walk to reach the mouth of Gold Creek, passing a small gathering of homeless men. The men face the sun. No masks circle their necks or hang from one of their ears. But they laugh with the joy of children splashing through puddles or adults whose faces are almost always wet with rain.