We are only a half-mile up the Gastineau Meadows’ trail when my camera battery dies. Aki, who seems to resent the camera delays, doesn’t mind. I don’t either. Today’s lighting would only confuse the camera sensors. So I sling the camera and employ my non-visual senses to experience the place.
Finding a patch of late-ripening blueberries, I roll one between thumb and forefinger and feel it yield to pressure before popping it in my mouth. Its taste—more sour than sweet—makes me think of the smell of muskeg meadows soaked with rain. I search the tops of nearby spruce when a rough tail hawk belts out its “queeeee” call but I can’t spot the bird. Its next call is fainter, made further into the meadow.