Home, sort of. Juneau is close.
Yes, Mexico was wonderful-- the light, the sand , the warmth, the palms and pink and red and white bougainvillea-- I especially love the little town with its solid colorful buildings, the paint and beams and tiles. Of course the fruit and fresh corn tortillas, and avocados are sublime-- and the limes! (With cold Pacifico beer--) but mostly I like the people, who say "Buenas Dias" and smile at me as I walk down the cobblestones to the beach. The mothers dropping off the little children in their uniforms at the primary school, the little boys followed by doting dogs, the grandmas sitting on the benches, and how patient the waitress is with my halting my Spanish-- what with Haines politics being what they are-- (borderline insane.. although compared to national news, we are looking better..) I wouldn't have minded getting stuck on the south side of that wall.
We even were part of the women's march there, which was mostly gringos and expats from all around the region, as there are still so many equality issues for women, especially in Mexico. I like to think we showed our neighbors that they are loved and supported. I hope so. There is a power in sisterhood that crosses borders and languages and faiths-- especially the power of grandmothers linking arms, don't you think?
(Photo by Carver Culbeck)
Speaking of which, the new Alaska writer laureate, recieves her mantle tonight-- and it's grandmother Ernestine Hayes, who is about as inspirational and timely a choice as the Governor could make. She is Tlingit, from Juneau, but for twenty years was homeless and lost in California, before returning home at 50, enrolling in school (she had dropped out as a teen)-- and becoming a scholar and writer. She was one of my teachers in the UAA MFA program. Her first book, Blonde Indian, won the American Book Award. Her latest, The Dao of Raven is recently out and I bought it yesterday so she can sign it for me. I can't wait to see her smile tonight, and hear what she says. The ceremony for the Governor's Awards for the Arts and Humanities begins at 7:30 at the Juneau Arts and Culture center.