To get to this pocket grove of old growth spruce, Aki and I had to cross recovering ground. More than 200 years ago, it began rebounding after being crushed by the Lemon Glacier. The Lemon retreated into hanging glacier status but since then someone clearcut most of the old growth that grew in its newly freed earth. Alders and berry brush choked the slashed land until new hemlock and spruce trees managed to rise above the tangled mess and form a second growth forest. The canopy of these thickly packed trees now blocks the light needed for understory plants.
Perhaps because they rooted in a hard-to-reach stream valley, the collection of spruce that now surround my little dog and I have stood since America purchased this land from Russia. In a tiny glade formed by the big trees, a bald eagle died and its body was devoured by forest recyclers. Aki tentatively sniffs the corpse—-now just bones and feathers, talons and beak, then backs away. The bird lays on its back with wings splayed out, head upside down. I hope it chose this peaceful place to die after a long life.