With the sun just skimming along Thunder Mountain, only portions of the Troll Woods receive today’s sunlight. Aki and I walk from dusk to light and back to dusk. A being that follows her nose rather than her eyes, the little dog shows no preference for the frosty gray of shadows or the sparkling white of sunlit woods.
Thanks to the extended cold snap we are free to walk across lakes and invade the beaver’s flooded forests. It’s a bit risky, since the beavers nibble out trails beneath the surface of their pond ice to maintain access between their food and den. On the Kuskokwim, elders warned us not to walk over frozen beaver ponds without being prepared to break through the ice. I approach each beaver dam with caution. Behind one, a world of bark-less sticks, alder leaves, and submerged tree branches exists, frozen in time and ice. Behind the big dam near the beaver village, we find an irregular shaped hole in the ice—looking like the street exit of a London Underground station. The beaver’s Oxford Circus.