I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

There is so much to tell you that I’m a little overwhelmed. I don’t even have kids in school anymore– but those poor parents (and teachers) are exhausting me from just seeing the many end-of-the-year celebrations and events. Prom, concerts, the track meet this weekend, the art show, bike to school day, potlucks and parties and fundraisers and farewells. The sunshine is making everyone crazy as if we are somehow all late– and that summer is starting without us.  When I reminded my kindergarten teaching daughter in Juneau that Sunday is Mother’s Day she reminded me that at school Mother’s Day is practically its own instructional unit. She assured me she is on it. I did hear my four year-old  granddaughter telling her two year-old cousin that Mother’s Day is the day you bring your mother a lot of food in bed before she wakes up. Should I warn their mothers? I used to use the day as a garden work party– but this year, with the sudden chunk of time from finishing the book– I have been gardening in a less manic way and more normal one. It has become a lifestyle rather than a chore. I used to blitz-weed the strawberry beds in one fell swoop. Sort of, I never quite completed it, and figured some was better than nothing. With this weather it’s hard to be indoors, so I’ve been weeding here and there in 15-20 minute increments,  then raking, or planting, or clipping or turning over the other beds,  and now the pre-season plants and beds look better tended than ever. I love these little moments. (The only trouble is I’m all dirty because I’m wearing my garden pants and shirt all day long.) There is a metaphor in this for life. It’s why so many poets are gardeners, or at least appreciate seeds and plants and water and sun and dirt and the other everyday miracles that transform a backyard from mundane to sublime and a chilled winter heart into a warm, happy summer one. Pearl has nearly abandoned us for the babies next door, whom she has decided need her to watch over them more than we need to watch over her– and since the garden is on that side of the yard, at least I can see her guarding them as they play in the sand on the beach. Yesterday, while they were napping she joined me, but when I wasn’t watching her she dug a big hole in the perennial geraniums by the cherry trees. Today she has terrible welts on her face. Apparently some kind of bug– or many– bit her hard, and she is allergic to their sting. She’s resting inside now, after a dose of homeopathic antihistamine and a dab of calendula oil,  thanks to my naturopathic dog-care expert friend. After I tended Pearl, I  washed my hands and discovered a big puddle on the floor and a major drip from the ceiling. My husband had repaired the upstairs toilet last night. I re-tightened the nut on the valve and the drip has ceased. So far today I’ve been a gardener, dog walker, counselor, vet-tech, and plumbing assistant. For a morning spent doing “nothing” while trying to get to work for at least an hour or so, that’s not so bad, is it? This rambling mess all began because I planned to tell you, when I finally sat down at my desk, that last night during a joint borough assembly and planning commission meeting at the library the fire alarms went off and we all ran out the door into the warm sunny evening. There was no smoke. Turns out a little boy who had just learned to read (he is about 4) pointed to an alarm box and read what it said to his grandmother, “Pull.” And then, she said, apologizing profusely, “He did!”  No doubt he’ll never forget learning to read at the Haines Borough Public Library, and especially the power in even one well-chosen word.