Sun and Silence Before the Storm

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There’s rain in Downtown Juneau, brought by a curl of clouds that rode in last night on a Pacific low. But north of town, where the little dog and I walk along a Lynn Canal beach, it’s sunny. A few miles south, clouds push up against a weakening high-pressure ridge that reaches back to the Yukon Territory. Soon, gray clouds will blanket our sun, but not before we reach a little pocket cove where we’ve seen whales, sea lions, seals, and once an ocean-going beaver.

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We work our way over rocks made slick by spray and moss to where the cove opens into the canal. I wait for the magic, for a brace of seals to round the headland or an eagle to pull something from the sea. It too late for whales but I strain to see one out in Lynn Canal. It is empty as is the sky and the trees surrounding us—empty of wild things but also of those made by man. All summer prop planes and helicopters flew over this place while fishing boats and whale watching rigs made noisy passages up the canal. Today, there is silence broken only by tiny waves strikes. Silence, and sun before the next storm.

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