As dwellers of the rain forest we rarely hear the sound of dried leaves crackling beneath our boots. We recently enjoyed a stretch of dry weather but it ended before many leaves had reached the ground. Rain came with a vigorous wind that stripped the tall cottonwoods lining this trail. Today dead leaves cover this trail but do not crunch underfoot. Then the rain strengthens to thick drops that strike the leaves with force to reproduce the sound of a crackling fire.
Aki, closer to the sound than I, ignores it. She concentrates on that squirrel streaking arrogantly across her field of vision. Once a squirrel caught Aki’s attention like this and then stopped at the edge of the trail as if waiting for her to catch up. Squirrel and dog faced each other for a moment, the dog’s tail indicating a willingness to play. Squirrel broke for the woods with Aki in half hearted pursuit. They always get away.
With the rain beating a tattoo on the carpet of leaves we move deeper in the forest where dead yellow and brown ferns collapse against still green brush. Its a scene dominated by autumn browns but punctuated with individual shows of yellows. oranges and reds. The hugging sorrel show the strongest red even when submerged in sections of flooded forest. A few thin trunked cotton woods still display bright leaves, candles of yellow light in a grey and brown place.
We find the riverine meadow nearly covered by a great high tide. Only the tallest grass stands above the flooding river to form watery islands now haunted by Canada geese. I had timed this visit in hopes of seeing birds driven close by the high water. They usually squat on the sand bars that can reach almost a mile into the sea at low tide. The ebb has forced them here where we can watch them search for food. One raises its closed beak skyward as it seeking a rinse. Another opens her wide while looking with purpose at another goose. Is she telling a great story, or simply telling?