Today is my oldest daughter Eliza's birthday, she is 27 and teaching fourth grade in Juneau. It is hard to believe it is already 60 degrees and sunny at 10 am. On a few September sixteens we have had a thin layer of ice on the puddles in the morning .(And just about all have had lots of puddles.) Eliza was about the same age as baby Caroline is when we came to Haines. I loved walking around town with her in the backpack. Yesterday, I took Caroline out in her baby backpack, and we made the same rounds.
My first column For Woman's Day will run in November, and it is a bit of an introduction to Haines. Yesterday a magazine fact checker inquired about my population number, "About 2200, but I don't think everyone has ever been home at the same time." She had found other estimates. In response, I did some web-searching, too.
"I never need water," Terry Tempest Williams said, apologizing, coughing, and reaching for the water bottle handed to her by an event organizer. The white haired author of one of my favorite books, Refuge, among many others, was getting ill just talking to the standing room crowd at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau about what she'd witnessed of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The cover up, the devastation, the sick people and animals.
I swear, I get homesick now at about Eldred Rock. I am so happy to be home that I'm having trouble sitting at my desk. But I did want to touch base, since I have been computer-less since Friday. What a great trip-- the weather was so perfect that I had to remind myself that I was on an Alaska ferry and not some Baltic cruise yesterday. I wore a t-shirt on the deck and wasn't cold at all. The flight over and back from Juneau to Yakutat was spectacular, and in Yakutat itself we had views of Mt. St. Elias, Logan and Fairweather--and more sunny skies.
The Haines Glacier Bears cross-country running team will be in Yakutat tomorrow for a meet. (We leave on the ferry for Juneau in a few minutes.) Each meet, I write inspirational messages, type them and print them and hand them out before a race. Here is the one for 9-11-10. (Don't let the kids know, they won't see it until tomorrow.)---
Just yesterday I met a bicycling British botanist studying butter and egg plants. (Beach wildflowers that look like yellow snapdragons.)How's that for a mouthful of bs? It gets better, not only does the stunt double for Chubacka (I'm not sure if I spelled that right..)-- the big hairy guy in Star Wars-- live here, but yesterday I learned the former Mr. Bubbles from Sesame Street does. Kelly Hostetler has been running for the better part of two weeks as a fundraiser for Hospice of Haines and has covered over 300 miles.
I had my oatmeal this morning, with blueberries and a glass of orange juice, which my father Papa Bob, says is very good for my heart and cholesterol. Then I heard Fireman Al on the radio talking about the same heart healthy things. Fireman Al's Safety Talk on KHNS helped to save my life. He is the one who reminded me, just the week before I was run over by a truck, to keep my head in an emergency. Al said to tell someone specific to call 911, and tell them what to say.
I lunched with the ladies at Mosey's Mexican Cantina in the Fort yesterday, there were nine of us, between about 40 and about 80, and we sat outside in the sun at the picnic table in the garden by the dahlias and the last of the summer's bolting lettuce, overlooking the dock and Portage Cove. We could smell fall- there were high-bush cranberries in the bushes nearby- and see it, there was fresh dusting of snow across the inlet on the very top of Santa Claus Mountain, but the sun was so warm we didn't need jackets.
I missed the news about Alaskans eating locally for a week, so I'm trying it now. I missed the unplug the TV week too, mainly because I don't watch much TV. It makes me a seasick. (And lately, the news makes me heart sick as well. As my father groans, "where are our founding fathers?" Can you imagine a president today whose home was named Peacefield, as John Adams' was?) Anyway, back to happier thoughts, like the bounty of gardens and salmon. It is fun to eat as much as we can locally, and good for your heart and soul. This time of year it couldn't be easier.
I've had a busy couple of days. Well, not compared to Kelly Hostettler and friends, who ran from Skagway up to the White Pass yesterday, 40 miles in all-- and will keep going at about a marathon a day for the next ten days until they swing back down from the Yukon to Haines, on the 360 mile wilderness road route called the Golden Circle.