Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dancing With The Clouds

We're driving south on Haines Road in Yukon, Canada, on our way to Haines, AK. Most people take a marine ferry to get to Haines, but we want to drive, to see the landscape. And maybe some wild animals, too. So we drive. 

We see several pairs of trumpeter swans (monstrous birds, about 30 pounds each) gliding across Lake Kathleen. And a baby black bear runs right in front of us. We stop and look for momma, but she's not there.

And then, oh my, look at the clouds.

Thick, white marshmallows climbing thousands of feet high and dozens of miles long. Sticking to the sides of the St. Elias Mountains, leaving the tops to peak through, like space ships hovering quietly, stealthily. At times, the clouds morph into fog, and then a fine mist. So we see the entire mountain without its shroud. Massive. Beautiful.

Glaciers cling to the tops and sides of nearly each peak.  And the sun plays hide and seek. Peekaboo. And loses, each time, as the fog rises up, back into clouds, thick marshmallows. David to the sun's Goliath.

And then, as we drive above the tree line, as the temperature dips from the 50s into the 40s, we see the clouds just up ahead thinning into fog. And we're going to drive right through the mist. So I hold on.

But there's no mist. Instead, it's remarkable. The thinning wispy clouds twist, bounce and swirl into elongated shapes. Almost human. They waltz just above the creek beds, hovering, gently swaying and turning. Stretching high and low, always moving. Swishing.

And now we're driving right into them. Like we're taking a spin on an ethereal dance floor. With partners who dissolve. Dissipate. Then reappear as marshmallows, stuck to the sides of mountains. As if we'd never met.


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