Storyknife #3: Sightings

I’m not going to lie. The days here in Alaska during my 30-day writing residency run together. There are days when I sit at my writing desk, glancing up between bouts of laying down paragraphs, barely noting the drying fireweed of fall in the field beyond my window, barely remembering there are volcanoes across the Cook Inlet. Only to be greeted by a radiant view of Iliamna breaking through the clouds. Today, it was the merest hint of a rainbow arcing over Mt. Augustine that caught my surprise. (Well, where the volcanic island is supposed to be, but at 60-some miles distant, it’s socked in today.) Sometimes, it’s the striated colors of clouds stretched and loosely twisted like taffy at sunset that make me grab my camera. These things catch my notice. But they don’t all stick with me. (That first night’s sunset does, because it turned out to be an ephemeral and welcoming one. No sunset has touched it since.)

Until yesterday.

Yesterday will always stick out.

Because yesterday is when a young male moose, all 800 or so pounds of him, sporting his immature rack, his dewlap swinging beneath his chin, vestigial tail barely covering his rump, came cruising through the yard at Storyknife right outside Frederica cabin.

Moose are the largest extant species of the deer family, I’ve learned. Their upper lip is prehensile. Their lanky legs flexible enough to kick backwards, forwards, and sideways, giving them the ability to fend off wolves and bears. Moose are excellent swimmers and are outfitted with built in nose pads pushed closed by water pressure, allowing these big herbivores to dive and dine on aquatic underwater plants.

How cool is that?

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