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.

It has been wet and gray, and as someone said, October decided to visit in August. Which may be why when the wind blows and the skies clear it feels like heaven.

Also, there have been some more proverbial clearing of gray skies and stormy weather. With school starting it looks as if I can be of help for grandchildren so that all the learning isn’t on a screen at home. My bubble now includes at least one grandchild, and I think a few more may be added. If feels so good to have Caroline in my house, and in the voting booth (she came with me yesterday for the primary election, all masked and hand-sanitized. Start them early.) Before that we harvested  red and white potatoes from the barrels in the garden that she had planted back in May, and then set the table and ate some with butter and  garden dill at a fancy lunch with chicken-egg (as we call the real ones from our coop) omelets.  We sat at each end, like royalty, mindful of our six feet, and of course the windows were open ( as much for the eau de wet dogs under the table as for our health.)

Also, because Haines has no active Covid-19 cases, and we have only had 4 (or maybe 8, it’s still not clear to me), positive tests and because no one has actually gotten sick, the risk level has been lowered. I was allowed to visit my friend Betty at Haines Assisted Living, in person. Inside. It felt strange, since I haven’t even been in anyone else’s house in months, but safe, and it was so good to see her. We talked for over our allotted hour about everything and nothing. It was hard not to scoot my chair closer and to know that she couldn’t see my smile under the mask, but it was so easy to be together that seems a minor quibble. Even though we’ve been chatting on the phone, it’s just not the same. She looked great, which was a relief.

So, there is all that joy.

And yet, I have to bat back the grief too– real for all the sadness, pain, and death in the country, and not being able to see friends and family– and anticpated, I suppose, over how long the eye of the hurricane will hover over Haines, and what will happen next, clear skies or a real storm– and what about when winter actually arrives? I call this squirrel brain, and there are a lot of squirrels this year. Is it a sign that we just have to get used the chatter in our heads? There is even one squirrel that sits on the arm of the Adirondack chair on the deck and eats spruce cones, leaving the seed pods in a pile like some guy in a bar whose been shelling peanuts. It’s all I can do not leave him a little glass of beer.

On Sunday mornings I have been having back-to-back Zoom events, with yoga and church, and last Sunday we realized it has been 21 weeks of “please mutes” and passcodes. On August 16, Emilia the darling baby whose umbilical cord I cut in the delivery room and haven’t seen since except virtually turned 5 months old. Oh, I wish I could hold her. Did I tell you we are worried about my dad too? He lives in his house all alone and is about to turn 87.

There goes my squirrel brain again.

So this is what I want to tell you: In yoga class,  Sarana (with such a name she was born to be a yogi, don’t you think?) quoted another wise, kind  person that the people who follow such teachings knew of, but I don’t, so forgive me for not giving her or him credit:

— Trust in the unfolding mystery of your life.

I love this. The unfolding mystery of life. (Yes, that’s it.) Trust in it. Life. This one. My only one. (I will do my best.)

And it is pretty funny that cheeky squirrlel is choosing to snack in a chair on my deck.

One more note, since you are here: please check the appearances section of the site, if you’d like to sign up for a Zoom event in lovely Petersburg AK at Sing Lee Alley Books Aug 20th, and one in Sitka at Old Harbor Books with my friend and terrific author John Straley on August 27. As always, if you have a book club and want me to visit with you, and the timing works, I’m happy to.

Take care of yourself, and if you are able, someone else too.