23 May 2013
When I was a little girl I had a black purse filled to the brim with coins. Sure, it was mostly pennies, but still it was worth loads to me. I was lollygagging down in the harbor, stepping over the cracks in the dock. It was a warm breezy day, Im sure I was daydreaming about what I could buy with my current fortune. Talking with some of the fisherman my dad knew. I liked the way the fisherman tipped their caps to say "hows it going little lady". When suddenly, the strap broke on the purse and before I could grab it, it tumbled into the cold, unforgiving water which snatched it right up. I watched it twirl quickly down to the shallow bottom, spilling copper the entire way.
Those sea stars sure are rich now. I think that was when I decided to be tomboyish. No more silly purses for me. From now on Im gonna live in blue jeans and keep my money at home!
I practically grew up on the beaches and woods surrounding my home. It sure was misleading when the summer clouds didnt tell you it was almost dusk and past the time to go home. I would stay out until I could hear my mother yelling at me to come inside. Oh, and could I ever hear her. I was the kind of child that craved wholeness. Reality. Gravity. Logic. However hard you look; these traits you cannot find in shredded wheat.
Walking the neighborhood dogs to earn honest dollars. Fishing for salmonberries. Erecting forts up in the forest. And little lean tos on the beach. Building places where I could travel to when my heart needed a home. A place where troubles came, and troubles also passed. Where you could find peace, and hide from it as well.
It is happily similar these days too, only now I am allowed to go farther and stay out as long as I like. Searching for my aurora borealis while still I find time to play and be young as well. Being born, rooted, raised, grown and not to mention disciplined here. I like to believe that the people who live in Alaska know all they need is in their soul. For the remainder of you, there is always Walmart.
Feel fortunate if you meet the people who will invite you in, and offer you fresh baked bread, dandelion tea, pickled fish, venison, huckleberry jam, and sit you down with plenty of attention to the woes in your life. And maybe some devils club salve to rub on the delicate bruises. Try to feel here where the air here is thick with friendly. Almost as thick as the herring eggs on that chunk of seaweed they are attempting to get you to taste test.
Take some time to hear the rain reverberating upon a tin roof. We have all heard about the songs that state how you will miss out if you've never kissed in the rain. This aspect is the true southeast Alaska soundtrack, one slow long passionate kiss in the ceaseless rain that exposes you down to your damp, saturated skin.
If you tend to think the dark rainy winter days dismal and expressionless. I have empathy. Leaving great impressions on anyone who has ever witnessed them. Hate it or love it. Im hungry for the ulterior motive of its soppy moisture. There is no need to go outside. Look around you. Curl up and devour a book. Find anything to do that will keep you from doing what you are supposed to do. However keep in mind, imagination is required to become a local in southeast Alaska. They must have somehow forgotten to put that on the permanent fund filing application.
A time comes where you get the urge to tell everyone to just shut their red chapped lips, because somehow, we have gotten to the point of an over articulated existence. Yep. You may not realize it at first. But to someone who knows, those are the times when some precious solitude can be set aside specifically for you. Dont forget to take it.
A mildly comforting sensation invades my bones when I pretend there is no world outside our island. Unless I so choose to crawl out into it. We all want to experience more sometimes. I for one need a vacation now and again. But be wary and tread slow, would not want an overdose of big city civilization. The end result may turn you more solitary than when you started your venture.
Whats best about moving up from the lower 48 is that no one you know lives here. You will hear plenty of these anecdotes depending on which southeast town you are frequenting with a tidbit of bad or otherwise twisted humor thrown in for good measure.
A huge thank you to all the friends I've met who live here. Who chose to make Sitka their home. Without them it would be much much more boring on those mediocre rainy days. And who make the sunny days that much more valuable. Another thank you to the friends who do not wish to make Sitka their home- to whom I go calling on when I need to GET OUT.
I still reminisce about my change on that one summer day that I fed to ANB harbor. Just laying on the bottom somewhere. Maybe I'll go find them and just look at the coins dwindling lazily on the bottom. Because that is what I think about when I think about being Alaskan. Sometimes you have to give up things which are valuable to reside here.
And I must be committed, as I have bought a house!!!!