Four Octobers ago I made the first post for this blog. It was on a wet October 9th. Aki and I walked up the Fish Creek Trail and found a land gone to rest after the summer salmon spawn. That is how we find the creek and its forest today. No salmon hold in the creek. No decay perfumes the air. Rain-swollen creek waters have flushed out the bodies of spawned out dogs, pinks and kings. No bears hunt for meals.
We have to step over fresh eagle scat that looks like a splat of pancake batter sloshed from a mixing bowl. I hear the cry of what might be an eagle or even an osprey. I want it to be an osprey and remember Kathleen Dean Moore advising me and others in a Skagway church to write like an osprey—-hover over the terrain of ideas and then dive for promise. Moore told us to struggle on the page with our catch. The struggle provides the reader meat. Today the forest provides a more corporal challenge.
The wind-felled trunks of five or six old growth spruce block the trail near the turn around point. There, in past summers I cught salmon and once watched an otter rinse a meal in the stream. This late into the fall, I know of nothing that would justify the effort and risk of crawling over and under the tangle of sticky trunks and limbs. But, sunlight illuminates the path beyond the windfalls just before I turn back. It sparkles on the moist moss, turning it an electric green, backlights hanging strands of old man’s beard and the fine structure of ferns now the porcelain white of fall. Aki holds back but I begin the struggle that wins me a place on the other side of the downed trees. The sunlight disappears just after the little dog dashes under the downed trunks to my side.