I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

My dogs “read” the news of their world with their noses, eyes, and ears. What they sense, is what is. What they see is what they get. Mostly, for Pearl, it’s pretty darn good around here. I have decided to try be more like my dogs.

I am both a worrier and an optimist. You’d think these two traits would not be compatible. For me, they work well together. I practice situational awareness, always. This is how I can keep riding my bike after a near fatal accident 15 years ago. I pay attention and imagine the best and worse case scenarios, and how I am going to handle them. It’s also why I wear a mask, wash my hands, wipe with Clorox, and am okay with a socially distant family picnic on a windy beach.  Still, this week was challenging. It’s been so long, this stress and worry. So I decided to do my best to concentrate on the good news closest to home.

Like talking with neighbors from across the road and across town. They have been driving pick-up loads of yard debris to the brush dump down the road from my house, and slow down if I’m out front, and before I know it, I’m leaning on my rake and they are shouting through the passenger side window across the lane, in the same way they always do. It  was as normal, and as uplifting as anything that’s happened in weeks. It made me happy.

Bike riding with Chip is the same as always, too. But with no races to train for, we have more time to catch a breath. I can even stop now and then to take a picture. I am sorry that  I couldn’t slow down when we pedaled by the big brown bear though, and he was handsome- or when I startled the little black bear on the hillside by the creek. He sat down abruptly, belly out, feet splayed, like Winnie-the-Pooh, as I hustled by. But as the story goes, I know enough about bears, even very small bears, to be shy of them. I did stop for the raft of surf scoters. There were so many, and they moved noisily and in formation like a cross between a synchronized swim team  and a marching band.

The mountain goat standing on the same cliffside where we have cut Christmas trees was such a pleasant surprise.

In the morning, the Chilkoot River is raucous with early birds feeding on the hooligan. I wish you could hear them. If you do pedal out by the hooligan fermenting pits at four mile, don’t take a deep breath. The aroma is so strong, it makes me wonder if hooligan oil could cure Covid-19. The little fish just keep coming. The run seems longer than usual.

Hanging out in the backyard clipping the wild roses, raking out dead beach grass (it’s more wild than groomed and I prefer it that way), is a pretty good way to spend an afternoon, a week, a lifetime. Centuries. It has taken the Chilkat River millions of years to float enough grains of sand down from the hills to build this beach. The fjord under my boots is filled with 1,000 feet of silt. Imagine that. Time is an ever rolling stream. Today, that’s a comfort. (Trixie agrees.)