Home Sweet Home

 At Morning Muscles early this morning at the Chilkat Center (6-7) the ladies welcomed me back. I'd been gone a fair bit this spring, to Ketchikan, Skagway and then Homer. My friend Anne Marie, who travels a lot for her job, commiserated with me. "It's summer," she said. "Who wants to be anywhere else now?" When I got home I tended my tomatoes, pinching suckers that had sprouted while I was away, and tying up the fast growing vines. Forte, my big old dog, was with me, whining. He really wanted a walk. So we went down to the beach and bumped into my neighbor Johnny and  his Lab, Dolly going the opposite direction. We couldn't stand and talk long, the air was still and the gnats fierce. Johnny said he hadn't seen me around. I said I'd been away with writing stuff. Johnny said everyone likes my stories, which was nice of him, and then said, "be careful, though, don't let them suck you into going all over the place." I promised him I wouldn't. At the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference I was on a panel of "successful" writers who answered questions about what that means. I said to me, success means doing what I love to do without leaving home. I told them I wouldn't go to New York or LA or where ever if it meant better exposure or more money. I think they thought that was nice and perhaps a little odd. But everyone in Haines knows exactly what I mean. Here, that's the way most of us feel. This really is, as Johnny says, a "sweet" place. Compared to the rest of the world, "Haines is looking sweeter ever day," he said this morning, swatting the gnats and looking toward the river, sea and lush green mountainsides.

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