The Way the World (& the Town) Goes 'Round.
Before going to bed the other night I was reading an article in The Week on the global economy. This prompted me to check the labels on my (I thought) very American clothes. My shirt (Woolrich) was made in China, and so were my Levi's and Smart Wool socks. My underwear (Jockey) was made in the Dominican Republic. Then I checked the bathroom counter, and the labels on the skin creams and such. Turns out the only item in sight that was made in America was the China Gel liniment with the Yin and Yang symbol on the label that I got from Laurie at Chilkat Valley Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Then, yesterday morning, as my husband and I sipped coffee made on the woodstove at our cabin and listened to the radio, the host of Morning Edition talked up the benefits of aerobic exercise for the heart and especially the brain. He was on a treadmill, walking, at a three mile per hour pace for eight minutes. A new study says all we need to do is walk briskly for 30 minutes four times a week (or something close. I was still sipping the coffee and not quite awake) and we'd be healthier and happier and maybe even smarter. Shortly after that we put on our snowshoes for the half-hour walk down the trail to the road where the truck was parked. A long time ago, I thought I wanted to work for NPR. If I had pursued that, I might have been the one on that Washington D.C. basement treadmill instead of walking down a woodland trail below the mountains but above the fog on Lynn Canal, checking the path for signs of moose and hearing nothing but a woodpecker in the distance. I ran a lot in those days, too. Maybe it made me smarter as well as fitter. (is that even a word?)I know it made me feel good, (it still does). The longer I live in Haines, the happier I am.
Which brings me to the recent bloggings and ads in the paper by two (apparently) kind of grumpy guys who have (apparently) chosen Haines as their retirement home yet now have nothing very good to say about a lot of the local residents, institutions or places. I'm guessing that they moved here because it is such a great place to live, especially if, as Outside Magazine noted years ago, you don't have to earn a living here.The views are nice, the taxes are lower than down south and we have so many amenities- the clinic, the ambulance crew, the pool, the Chilkat Center, the library, the Senior center. All that, and the roads are plowed and sanded and it is safe. There's no traffic and everyone waves. I haven't even mentioned Fireman Al, the Elks, yoga, the high school basketball teams, the assisted living facility, Tlingit Park, or ski trails and fishing. Best of all, Haines is home to both Pete Lapham and Gershon Cohen-- and many more pairings like that: Sarah Swinton and Holly Davis, or John Katzeek and Tim June or Jerry Lapp and Greg Schlachter or Melina Shields and Mary Lou Hart (Go ahead, this is a fun game, naming opposites (sort of) that you like living in a community with.) This balances us out in a kind of community building Yin and Yang. Otherwise we'd all be the same, and then Haines would really seem small. It's true, we all get a little down this time of year, but it's best not to make enemies in January that you may want for friends in July, you know? I for one prefer to see my coffee cup half full. Two words of wisdom from late, wise men. (Who were also sort of opposites) Arne Olsson said " we have nothing but happy campers here" and Guy Hoffman noted "If you don't like the weather, make your own high pressure system." You should probably also spend a half-hour, four times a week walking fast. (Wear grippers though, since it is icy this morning, or join the Gym Dandy Walkers in the school, or head for the woods on snowshoes, or take a loop around the ski trail at the golf course. You could swim in the pool, or join karate-- and what about that Nia dancing?There's so many options, don't you love this town?)