Reunited after two weeks, the little dog and I wander one of the familiar trails near the northern tip of Douglas Island. It must be spring. The shrill twill of a varied thrust greets us at the edge of the woods. Almost all the forest plants have committed to the change of seasons. The blueberry and huckleberry bushes are green with new growth. Beach side alders redden with new leaves. Only the thorny devil’s club plants refuse to throw in. They stand like snarled, naked souls condemned at the final judgment.
Just off the beach, wide rafts of Barrow golden eye ducks and surf scoters hunt for baitfish and I wonder if the early appearance of spring convinced the silver salmon smolt to leave nearby Peterson Creek for the salt water. When a harbor seal surfaces among the golden eye ducks they move into shallow waters. The more numerous scoters, with their clownish orange, white and black beaks, edge out to sea. Every few seconds one bursts into a short-lived flight. Their Three Stooges-like flight song is the last thing we hear before returning to the woods.