For our first hike after a 10-day separation, Aki and I head out to the moraine. Two weeks ago, the little dog jogged behind as I skied this trail to a lake that reflected the Mendenhall Glacier. Today I hike over bare ground, past cottonwoods and spruce that pierce a thick fog. The opaque stuff prevents any mountain or glacier views and softens the outline of the forest. Across one of the lakes, a circus of Canada geese explodes into the air, hurling curses at whatever forced them off their feed. The fog hides their escape route. We do manage to spot an immature bald eagle before he flies low over the river to a safer perch.
Living in the rain forest of Southeast Alaska tests a person’s tolerance for moist, grey days. A quarter century of it can produce hunger for sunlight that is sated by a just few days of bright weather. It also teaches a person how to mine the grey for peace. When fog hides post card beauty you marvel at the humblest pond reflection. When the sky fills with goose calls and one startled eagle, the memory of it will carry you through December’s rain.