Fog

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Aki dashes around Sandy Beach, one of our most popular dog walk. She ignores the old mine air shaft, a tall, rectangular battlement with a pitched roof now appearing and disappearing in the fog. As I try to focus my camera, the fog appears to grow thousands of feet in height until it obscures all but the top of Mount Juneau. It deflates as quickly, as if it is being eaten like cotton candy by the sun. In a minute it is barely taller than the airshaft.

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All the miners who were served by the airshaft managed to escape before water from Gastineau Channel flooded the tunnels of the Mexican Mine. Before that day, even the sharp-eared Aki would not be able to hear my summons over the sound of ore crushers that ran 24 hours a day except for Christmas and the Fourth of July.

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I imagine the miners moiling in lantern-lit depths while fog shrank and expanded over the channel on sunny January days. They would never know the bright beauty that Aki and I share unless they took their lunch above ground. They entered their tunnels in the dark of morning and left long after the sun disappeared behind the Douglas Island ridge. Maybe, during their dinner after a day like this, their children told them about the fog and how an eagle emerged from it with talons lowered to snatch food from the channel waters.

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