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.

I called the terminal and tried to make a reservation for Friday’s ferry, but it was full, and I couldn’t get my car on. Same for Sunday. My choices, Joanne said, were Thursday or Monday. (That’s Thursday as in today.) Eliza’s last day teaching is Friday. (As in tomorrow.) The baby could arrive any minute, or in two weeks. But, he is due now, and, like Eliza, I worked up until the last minute, as a waitress at Harry’s in Anchorage. I figured I’d stop working and have a few days or a week to put my feet up and get organized too, and woke up on my first day off in labor. So there’s a precedent. Plus, the weather is supposed be horrible (it is slushing now and socked in) and it’s getting darker every day (below 11 hours now…) so flying is probably out if I miss a boat–  and the tides and moon are all pulling and pushing, and Chip will be okay. And so will Pearl. The chickens are fed and watered and safe behind the electric fence. (Two bears ambled across the flats towards us while I walked Pearl this morning, and kept coming even when I hollered, so we hustled into the house.) I have a column already done for this Sunday’s Alaska Dispatch News, the galley proofs of my new book are still a month away, the garden is more or less put to bed. (I’m bringing down the last of the cherry tomatoes and jalapenos and some smoked salmon.) Joanne said, “What are you doing waiting around here when you could be in Juneau with the girls? I’d go Thursday. Let’s get you a ticket , dear.” Which is  a long, anxious (I am such a crummy traveler, my feet are in concrete, and it’s only Juneau, to my daughters’ no less and I really, really want to be there —  and it’s too early for wine. I know, I need counseling),  way of saying my bag is packed and I’m ready to go and I’m leaving as soon as I take a shower and get dressed in city clothes.  I won’t be on the radio this afternoon or at the RFP meeting for Fort Seward art, or at the planning commission meeting. (“They will all live without you, dear, trust me,” Joanne said.) Tonight I will be joyfully in Juneau. Bon voyage? Absolutely! ( I owe Joanne some champagne don’t you think?)