The clean, quieting cold left yesterday, apparently to evade the rain now melting recent snow. Aki and I patrol the glacial moraine forest. The softening snow still supports her light frame but I would be post holing without my cross country skis. I miss winter’s quiet and the freedom of travel offered by firm ice and snow. Aki loves these thaws, which uncovers favorite smells laid down before the last snow storm. She doesn’t mind the rain soaking her fine poodle hair. It might be different if she walked by a mirror, vain creature that she is.
Strong wind gusts blow across the open lake and above the forest. Each gust mimics the sound of an accelerating electric bus. I hear it easily above rain drops that maintain a staccato beat as they strike my rain parka. It’s a long, uncomplicated composition that builds to a series of thunder-like cracks followed quickly by a deep rumble as avalanches slide down Thunder Mountain.
As the avalanche chutes quiet, I leave the trail for a small, still frozen stream and find recent tracks of a river otter. The tracks seem out of place so close to the beaver village. Nearby, the severed branch of a balsam popular lays in the snow. It’s sticky buds still smell of sweet incense. Clutching it to grip of a ski pole, I carry it to the car. In the house, in water, it will scent to kitchen with balsam before its expanding leaf buds burst to reveal the green of spring.