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.


The best guesses as to when the first snow will fall at sea level out the road are on the “snow board” at 33-Mile, and I’m afraid my friend Lea who lives out there didn’t win. She said in church on Sunday that she chose October 15. But it’s getting close. Some folks in town did see a few flakes up on the hillside and even at the fairgrounds over the weekend, but it had vanished by daylight. As dog musher Jim Stanford, who is looking forward to winter in a big way, said at Mt. Market yesterday, “It could literally snow anytime.” 22 years ago today my daughter JJ was born in Juneau, and when she came home from the hospital we had about three inches of wet snow on the ground. This morning she is back in Juneau, where she is teaching in a pre-K partnership program between the Juneau School District and Headstart at Gastineau Elementary School. What a great thing to do. She has already had snow on the playground there, and it is in the forecast for here tomorrow, which means I had better get the yard picked up. I’m a little behind, mainly because I still have some flowers out there that have survived the few frosts and I hate to just dump the blooming pots. But it is time. Why is it that in April 40 is warm, but in October it is cold? My neighbor Mr. Aukerman died Sunday night, he was 91, and it was old age, although my editor at the Chilkat Valley News doesn’t believe it, since you have to die of something, he says. Mr. Aukerman’s obituary probably won’t make the paper this week,  as the deadline is tonight, and Mrs. Aukerman is pretty sad, and her heart was feeling odd enough yesterday to see the doctor herself. My heart would be strained too, if the man I had been married to for over 70 years was gone. When we were building our house Mr. Aukerman stopped by frequently on his way to and from town, in his big old pink Buick, or maybe it was a Cadillac, the one with the fin tail lights, to check on the progress. (I’ll have to check on that car’s make and model for the paper.) During one house tour he wanted to know where my dressing table would go. He suggested a built-in a counter with lots of lights and mirrors in a corner of our bedroom. He said he made a nice one for Wanda which she just loved, because it made gussying up so much easier. I am not a dressing table kind of gal, but listening to him talk about Wanda made me wish I was. Mr. Aukerman also called regularly when he was looking out at the ridge, Pyramid Island, and the tide flats with his spotting scope to inquire if we saw the same thing down at our house that he had just seen up at his–  the mountain goats up to left of the slide that looks like Italy, or the wolves down by the old cannery boiler at Pyramid Harbor, or a low flying plane. He watched for the first snow, too, and may have been waiting to leave until he saw it, so who knows, perhaps a few flurries escorted him out on Sunday night,  not at sea level, but higher, higher even than that ridge he knew so well. 


Also, an 8 week  wood working class begins at the high school tonight at 5:30, call John at 766-6727 for details. Maybe you can build a dressing table for your sweetheart? Tlingit language classes begin for the season tonight at the museum, 6:30-8, and Amy Gulick, Salmon in the Trees author, will be at the Senior Center today for lunch and a book signing at 11:30. Tomorrow night at 6:30 she will hold a photo workshop at the library. Thursday night at 5:30 at Harriett Hall there will be Native dancing, a local foods potluck (or as much as possible),  and a free presentation by Amy on her research regarding salmon and trees and how the forest relies on fish to feed it. She’s pretty great, so it should be a fun and educational evening.