Today, unseen things on this mountain meadow bother Aki and I. Distracted by the wind that shakes elephant-eared skunk cabbage leaves, the little dog almost steps on a trail-side grouse. She doesn’t even react when the plump bird flutters to life and takes refuge in the crotch of a hemlock tree.
At first I welcome the wind because it blows away mosquitos and other bitting pests. Then it carries the sound of other hikers—-children who would rather be home watching TV than on the meadow; barking dogs; adults sharing the events of the past week. On the now friendly wind, Aki hears promises of the caress and maybe a chance to chase another dog. Her curmudgeonly owner hears only the disappearance of solitude.