Purple Pilgrimage

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Aki and I are on a pilgrimage. Today’s light snow won’t stop us, nor will the climb toward the Perseverance Basin. We do stop to watch a small group of mountain goats feeding along a Mt. Juneau waterfall. One is gone after two short leaps. The others are still feeding when the little dog and I return to the pilgrim business.

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We climb the old mining road, skirting recent rockslides, leaning into the wind, when we round a point where birch trees sport swelling leaf buds. In minutes we arrive at our prize: a small patch of flowering purple saxifrage with roots jammed into a cliff-side crack. They provide the only joyful color in a muted landscape. In a week the flowers will shrivel to brown and, hopefully, wild columbines will already be building toward their showy bloom.

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