The mature bald eagle stands at the water’s edge, holding his white tail stiff while pointing his snowy head toward the sea. He knows that I’m here and flies off as I take his picture. But he only circles a short ways and lands a hundred feet down the beach. Is he waiting for the incoming tide to bring him a salmon carcass for lunch or does he find this shore a place of comfort?
If eagles share a human’s need for comfort, the big bird no doubt needs some after last’s night’s heavy rain. I do after listening to heavy rain pounding for hours on Chicken Ridge. That’s why Aki and I move on to a forested trail that leads to the sea—normally a place of protection and peace.
In the woods we splash through small lakes. They formed on the trail during the deluge, which overburdened the forest’s natural drains. It’s worse where the ruins of a beaver dam have backed up a normally tiny stream. Heavy water drops fall off the forest canopy and drop on the little dog and me. I brace for worse and walk out of the woods onto the beach. Today, the sloping gravel strip between woods and sea is at peace. No rain falls. No wind blows. No waves pound. We can see all the way to Admiralty Island and hear eagle screams, ravens chortle. Aki searches through heavy ropes of severed rock weed while I plot the shortest, driest path through the wet woods.