Trading Solitude for Sun

Rice, smoked salmon and ripe avocado rolled up in nori (dried seaweed)— comfort  food in our Southeast Alaska home especially when taken with dark Swedish coffee. Aki watches me eat it from her perch on the sofa arm. She doesn’t mind. She had her smoked salmon for breakfast before our passage through the Troll Woods.  

The morning sun made a surprise appearance on the moraine trail leading to the woods. We see blue sky reflected in calm lake waters and sunlight gathered on the rain soak plants growing along the trail. Wanting solitude more than sun this morning I take Aki into the Troll Woods, which is still as cold as the previous night. We move down the moss covered trail in silence and peace until Aki stops to inspect a scene of small devastation. Shattered pieces of Broomrape lay on the trail, its roots dug from the ground by a passing bear.  We find more dig sites further up the trail. Aki takes it all calmly so I know the bear isn’t near.  Our relationship is like that. She relies on me to pick the right path while I expect her to warn of danger. Each have expectations for the other and most are fulfilled.

I take out the camera while approaching the young beaver’s lake in hope of a photo of him near the shore. That plan is shattered by the splash of a large bird dog and the loud voices of it’s owners. We wait at the edge of the woods for them to move on. They do but the beaver does not reappear.

We take a seldom used side trail to the flooded beaver lands but high water cuts off the path. Aki barks a greeting to a noisy gang of dog walkers moving along a parallel path.  I want to tell her not to reveal our location to the enemy. It’s time to back track to the car.

We could secure solitude by taking the Troll Woods path but now sunshine floods the open moraine trail so I forgo silence for light. Aki should be pleases as it increases her chances of running into other dogs. One does appear — a black lab plunges into one of the beaver lakes. Aki must have heard the commotion but stays quietly at my side. Together we walk in the sun to the car.   

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