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.


Today is All Saints Day, and tomorrow is All Souls. This is when, our priest Jan says, the time of year when heaven is closest to earth, which makes thinking about all those souls swirling around a lot less scary. Actually, it is kind of comforting, especially this week. Yesterday morning on our walk, Pearl and I decided to stay in the uplands, and took the trail above the beach, across Betty’s creek, and along the trees, in part to get a break from the cold snowy wind, when Pearl flushed what I assumed was an eagle, but turned out to be an owl, the pie plate face was a dead giveaway. I jumped back, and Pearl loped over the snow underneath it as it coasted off.  It was a Mary Oliver kind of moment. As she wrote in her poem, Some Questions You Might Ask: “Is the soul solid, like iron? Or is it tender and breakable like the wings of a moth in the beak of an owl? Who has it? And who doesn’t?” Don’t worry, her conclusion is not sad and lonely– it is hopeful as red berries the ash tree: “One question leads to another,” she writes, “what about the blue iris?What about all the little stones sitting alone in the moonlight?” Of course there is a soul to the universe, and all things great and small, and that is what keeps us going doesn’t it? That is why today, instead of pecking away on the chapter that was due last week (and in truth, my editor lives in New Jersey and the publisher is in lower Manhattan, so I’m sure I am not on the top of anyone back there’s to-do list) anyway, that is why today I’m spending the afternoon with Caroline. We hung out yesterday, too. She was having trouble taking a nap, and so I lay down with her in JJ’s big bed upstairs. We read a story about a ballerina, and then I told her to rest, and if she couldn’t sleep just pretend for an hour. That’s what my father used to tell me when I was a child. She started snoring really loudly. I nudged her,  and looked at me with one eye open. “Quietly,” I said. Then she said, “Mimi, I love you to the moon and the back.” Which seemed the perfect homily for All Saints and All Souls. 


Tonight at 6 at the libraries in Haines and Homer, thanks to the magic of technology and a grant named OWL (coincidence?),  there will be a program organized by the Homer library on writing about remembrance, with a focus on obituaries and eulogies, or family memoirs. I am talking about that for about 20 minutes from here in Haines, and presenters from Homer will do the rest. Haines writers and would be writers  are welcome to attend, as we’ll be interacting with them on the big screen TV. Also tonight at 6 the Well and Fit Community Challenge begins at the school library. It is a great program supporting health, fitness, and fellowship for people wishing to make a few positive changes in their lives. It really works. Call Kathy for deatils at 766-6366. At 6 as well is women’s choir practice at the museum, all women singers are welcome. And at 7 at the Chilkat Center the Chilkat Valley Foundation will award new grants and hear from last year’s grantees. (Caroline and I will bake cookies for that this afternoon. Wish me luck.)