I am here under duress. Even though she already had her walk this morning, Aki gave me an extended stink eye until I slipped her leash into my pocket and grabbed a camera.
Minutes into this walk on the Outer Point Trail, a group of tourists eye me with caution, like country folk might look at men in gang colors after stumbling into an intercity neighborhood. Aki, an animated stuff animal, can’t have scared the tourists. Maybe I should have shaved this morning.
It’s quiet in the forest after we pass the timid tourists so we can hear the hammer-like pounding of a woodpecker. Later we will be scolded by a Stellar jay and a red squirrel will swear at my little dog while I look over a scattering of its spruce seeds on the trail. We will hear more woodpeckers and stop to watch a red-breasted sapsucker and later a three-toed woodpecker. I will wonder if their presence in such high numbers is the result of the mild winter we had last year, which allowed tree pests to survive in high numbers.