Yesterday I attended a Zoom celebration for Haines carver and mentor Wayne Price in honor of his Distinguished Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation. It made me cry good tears. I mean, even though he was on a screen, and we weren’t there to applaud in person, and there were so many of us watching from home that we couldn’t see each other or the video feed would crash, I felt surrounded by a community of Alaskans that I love. The Rasmuson Foundation presenters did the best they could under the circumstances, and in that way Zoom is doing everywhere, it was in some ways more heartfelt than a big luncheon in a fancy hotel, or arts center, because it was so intimate. Wayne and his wife Cheri were in their Fort Seward home by the fireplace, the boardmembers were in offices with books askew, but one wore her pearls anyway. A father and his children drummed and sang a song from their house. Wayne was as always, so gracious. He thanked everyone, and then he said, “What a time we live in. We can’t look at the negative so much. We have to remember the blessings, remember gratitude. Make a list of them, even if it’s small one, (that’s how) we are going to get through this.”
The governor lifted some Covid 19 rules, but mostly life here is the same, at my house anyway. I did take my second drive to town since March 18 and picked up a few packages left in doorways like drug deals. (And I guess you could say they are good medicine.) I’d already ordered the new Anne Tyler and Julia Alvarez novels from The Bookstore when Katie, who is a francophile, suggested a pandemic French book and wine club to cheer us up, connect friends old and new virtually, and support two local shops, so, why not?
I also saw my first Northern Harrier hovering over the flats, and a raven with a hooligan in its beak on a morning walk, and there is a flock of snow geese hanging around before heading north that sometimes flies right over the house, and once this week when I was raking, they seemed so close overhead that I ducked. They are huge, impressive birds. One afternoon, when it was windy, we took the woods trail, and a fat gray vole waddled right in front me before cutting off into the brush. She was in no hurry at all. Also, I haven’t seen them, but I’ve heard that the two brown bears are back, the playful brothers from last summer, and have been photographed on this beach and along the beaches off Lutak Road. The dogs have already puked some hooligan they scavanged in the tide line on the rug. A sure sign of spring, as are the sealions and seals, and all the calling gulls and terns. I like to listen and watch their local kind of news for a bit in the evenings when Chip is looking at the TV news. It’s softer, and closer.
It’s still gray and breezy, but blue skies and warmer temperatures are in the forecast for tomorrow, and, hey– May is a day away. (Here you may sing “The sun will come out tomorrow bet your bottom dollar…” — I am.)