Promises

 

 

1

Aki ignores the kingfisher that seems to me to be hunkering down on a small glacier erratic. It’s a fool’s errand to attribute emotions to a bird but expressive kingfishers invite the attention. This one on its small bolder might have been stunned into stillness from a just injected meal. It could be waiting, with patience, for its feathers to dry from a recent downpour that soaked the forest and created rivulets that eroded parts of the forest trail we took to reach this beach. It might just be sulking as another kingfisher, on his one own glacial erratic a hundred meters down the beach, savors a recently caught herring.

3

When a shaft of sunlight illuminates white gulls that wander a patch of orange-brown rockweed just delivered by last night’s storm surge, I think of the rainbow. It formed over Admiralty Island during the downpour we drove through to reach the trailhead. Aki, didn’t God seal his promise to Noah of no more catastrophic floods with a rainbow.

1

I can accept the promise of no more civilization ending floods but know rainbows never promise the end of rain. Even as we leave the beach from the old growth, drops dimple the water around a curious seal.

4

Where beavers recently flooded part of the forest, I see another possible portent: three woodpeckers hammering the same section of an old spruce tree. Two are sapsuckers. The other hunts insects. Why do they crowd together in a rain forest full of targets? The dog has no answers and the birds—they never talk to me.

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