Flat, Gray Day

This summer, I’ve heard woodpeckers pound against the tops of spruce trees but never saw one until this morning. It happened as Aki and I were returning from the shore of Fish Creek. The dense collection of scents was keeping Aki happy. But I was disappointed in the absence of birds, deer, or fish.

No eagles sulked in the tops of the forest trees lining the north shore of the creek. Later, I’d spot one along the edge of a bay. No salmon splashed or knocked about in the creek. I couldn’t sense anything in the water until I heard a merganser splashing and squawking on the creek. Somewhere upriver, it’s mate was carrying their chicks on its back as it moved into a wall of tall grass.

            The little dog and I turned our backs on the poorly performed play and headed downstream. Suddenly, a woodpecker flew low over my head and landed a few feet away on the lower trunk of an alder. Finally, a beautiful thing to photograph on this flat, gray day. Aki spotted the bird just as I did and charged it. The woodpecker flew off.

            The rest of the morning was spent looking at the reflections of glacier and mountains in Fritz Cove or telling myself that I was lucky to take the walk when purple, yellow, or yellow wildflowers lined both sides of the trail. Sometimes I would stop and close my eyes, trying to count the number of eagles, just born, that were screeching about the day.

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