Fall time in Southeast Alaska arrived a week or so ago. Aka seems to ignore the rain and winds. We trot through an old growth forest. Rain poured on our car on the way to the trail head. But it stopped by the time we arrived at the trail head. Rain drops still make the forest needles sparkle.
Aki and I are walking down the Outer Point Trail toward Shaman Island. It’s a good day for it. The heaving rain that started last night is still hammering the trail. We don’t object. The heavy trees we pass through seem to soften the rain. That helps me think about the return to fall time.
While Aki stops to map out another patch of scent on the ground, I search the sky for returning birds—ducks and geese. There is little to find when we reach the beach until a pair of belted kingfishers flies close. One lands on a tiny beach rock newby. The other does the same a few hundred feet away.
King fishers must have made Frank Soos smile when they landed nearby. A week or so ago, Frank died on one of his daily bike rides. When he lived, Frank, A University Professor, taught people how to write. Now he is gone. Many Alaska writers are his sharing stories. They will continue sharing as the temperatures drop and people prepare to ski. During each of my hikes along the Outer Point Trail, I will remember when Aki and I came upon Frank standing next to a blueberry patch. After a brief smile, Frank slowy plucked a blue berry, gave it a little sniff, and plopped it down. Then he smiled again.