There were two pages of letters to the editor in the most recent paper, prompting my daughter so say, "It must be February." And two fires in 24 hours, which is odd, the Horton's big shed caught fire and a little guest cabin on Mud Bay Road burned too- fortunately no one was injured in either. One very tired fireman told me he had only been asleep about an hour following the shed fire and clean up when he was back out at the cabin fire. How lucky are we to have such dedicated volunteers? At the same time, I know a little bit how he feels, which is best described as February.
It is Lent, and at our church we began the 40 day season of fasting, prayer, and spiritual reflection with a service this week on Ash Wednesday. We were reminded in the most graphic of ways that we come from dust and to dust we will return, with a cross of ashes marked on our foreheads by the priest. Then we listened while she read what Jesus had to say about walking gently through the world between those bookends of birth and death, as recorded in St. Matthew's gospel:
The weather has been good for writing, and I'm worried that this early thaw cycle may mean winter won't last long enough to finish a pretty good third draft of my new book, Finding the Good, so I'm kind of holed up at my desk in my pajamas surrounded by coffee cups, bowls of seeds and nuts, and dog treats to keep Pearl quiet between walks. (I pull my snow/rain gear on over the PJs.
Poet Mary Oliver says that what we must do with this wild and precious life we are given is simple: pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it. I am prepared to be astonished. I honestly am. It is the way I want to walk in this world. It's a lot more fun than watching out for another truck to run over me, you know? But even so, I have witnessed so many astonishing precious and wild moments in the last few days that I am flattened. (In a good way.) Just this morning, I have been keeping company with a black wolf.
The Arts Council's Northern Lights Showcase of local talent is tonight at 7:00 in the Chilkat Center lobby, not 6:00 as I previously noted- and as may be still floating around out there in other sources. 7, not 6. (Unless you want to set up chairs with us.) See you there! (What else are you doing on this rainy, wet, blowing like crazy February-cane of an evening?)
Well, February is coming in like a Glacier Bear. Tonight at 7:00 the Debate, Drama and Forensics team host their always entertaining and filling dessert auction fundraiser for travel to the state championship. At 6:00 the women's choir meets to practice the Star Spangled Banner which we will sing tomorrow night at the basketball game if the Craig boys can fly in-- the JV play at 6:30, varsity at 8:00. Saturday morning at 7:30 the 4th grade has a pancake feed in the cafeteria to raise money for their Yukon trip, and at 10:00 it is the Haines Winter Olympics at the the Fairgrounds.
Caller: Hi Heather, this is Senator Mark Begich.
Me: No it's not. Who is this really?
Caller: It's Mark Begich, your senator.
Me: Is this John? Don, is that you? Funny.
Yesterday morning three year-old Caroline and I attended the Presbyterian Church. She told her mother that she was going a new church, not the "Haines church where Nancy plays the piano." Which is kind of funny since the Episcopal mission we usually attend in the lobby of the arts center has about ten of us, including an old dog, and the Presbyterians founded the town of Haines and even named the site the Tlingits gave them after a Presbyterian official, Francina Haines-- . Anyway, we went to hear Caroline's Aunt Stoli play the piano.