We walked along the trail that circles the bog, my friend and I, a few evenings ago. No snow remained on the dirt path, though soft mud and wind-downed twigs marked the route. I watched my footing; was careful to not drag my feet as Alaskans are known to do during the icy days of winter: skimming our feet carefully over the surfaces. I can't risk a fall so lift my feet as if walking along uneven cobblestones.
On the far side of the loop trail, we make a side trip to a viewing platform to watch geese, ducks, gulls. The migratory birds returning to nest and feed ignore their neighbors, the hardy magpies who tease and cajole the fair-weather Alaskans.
I'm looking for another creature; have seen and heard them overhead. Want to know if they will be nesting nearby again. We turn to leave and my friend sees something, the long-necked, tall bird. We move closer. The crane disappears as it dips its head into the marsh grasses, foraging. Reappears. Its voice silent; not calling its mate. We wait, watch, listen. Finally continue our walk. I hold onto my hope that the mate arrives soon, riding on the winds blowing from the south.