Photograph by Christopher Schuler
We have scattered birch trees in Fort Yukon but Chris and I are in Fairbanks today where they are thick and stately. There is a sense of understated grandeur in this place where the trunks rise un-limbed to their far-away crowns. So beautiful! On some the bark curls thickly away from the trunks like ancient scrolls while on others it clings as thin as tissue and when touched disintegrates and drifts away like the dust. A scent of sweetness hangs in the air. It is still and pleasant, somewhere between warm and cool. Ferns carpet the ground below; they brush softly, feathery against our legs. Our passage stirs up more mosquitoes than I had believed existed in all the world but we go back to the car for our cameras and risk the winged guardians of the forest once again.