I’m standing on a downtown dock that is covered in ice. The ice has enough grit mixed in it to provide boot purchase on a normal day but 80-miles-an-hour wind gusts are sweeping down the channel. A gust snaps forward my knees and lifts my torso forward and up, like I am no longer anchored by gravity. Instinctively, I lean back into the wind to avoid being pushed off the dock and into the turbulent channel.
I am glad that Aki is still in the car. It’s been awhile since I felt such a jolt of fear. We drive out to a North Douglas Island trail where the forest should provide some protection from the wind.
Last night’s storm has stripped the forest trees of frost but the beach is still white with snow and ice. Waves born in Lynn Canal curl onto the beach and die. Their crashing noise mixes with that of the wind whipping over the treetops to make the little dog nervous. Protected from the wind by the beachside forest, we watch a small raft of mallards fly low along the surf, close to the beach where the wind gusts can’t interfere with their flight. The wind doesn’t inhibit crows, ravens, eagles or gulls, which wing through the gusts with an overstated nonchalance.