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.

We love the way we live here. It’s not an easy life, but it’s a good life.- Lani Hotch

It’s simple for me. Because this is where I live. If you’re not going to fight for that, what are you going to stand up for? – J.R. Churchill

8:40 am, snowing lightly, light southeast wind. Low tide. Socked in down to the waterline. Sunrise was at 8:29, although it’s still pretty dim. But nice, the way the snow is when it falls gently, and the world is so quiet except for the singing of a couple of eagles in the spruce trees.

We didn’t get the snow they were predicting, but it is colder, and the road was icy enough by dinner time last night that a neighbor skidded into the ditch with a pick-up. He wasn’t hurt, and another neighbor, Michael, who is also a policeman, was already there when Chip went out to see if everyone was okay. This morning, another neighbor, Bonnie, asked me if I knew what happened when we saw her and her dog Taku walking on the beach.


Speaking of being good neighbors, and good friends, I was feeling the pressure to take a good picture since this is the final day of my November morning photo challenge– ( we made it!)  Beth was extra patient.

One minute we were talking about the meal she is bringing to the family with the new baby at Paradise Cove– ( halibut, rice, sweet potatoes, dessert. A salad) and the baby’s name, Lupine. (It’s a girl)– and the other new baby in town. His name is Wally. — We agreed that Lupine and Wally are perfect– and the next minute, I was off with the camera focusing on mud on the riverbank.

These less dramatic mornings don’t demand the same reverence the last few have, and sometimes that’s a relief. Just to walk and talk. We look forward to the visit everyday. Beth likes walking on the stretch we call the cobblestones. She has carried home enough round stones over the years to make her own cobble area by her place.

The river tumbles the rocks round, and then fills in around them with silt.  It feels paved underfoot.

Today I am on the radio from 1-3, and we have the first community choir rehearsal for the Messiah sing-along at 5 at the senior center. Tomorrow is adventure movie night at the fairgrounds to benefit the crew building a warming and overnight hut up on Mt. Ripinski and the watershed council.  Saturday the Lighting of the Fort begins at 5. Mayor Morphet has apparently designated me Minister of Fun, so I’m in charge of the hot dogs for the weenie roast. I need to call him, and Annette, for more instructions. It’s getting busy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these mornings with me, and that you can now see what a treasure the Chilkat River is. One thing I haven’t shared, is that it is threatened by a potential mine not too far from here, and very close to Klukwan, about 21 miles upriver. Constantine’s Palmer Project is a large and potentially lucrative mine now owned in part by a billion dollar multi-national mining company, and I am worried. A lot of people are, and the threat or promise of it– depending on your point of view- explains the reason Haines is a “deeply divided” town.

My friend J.R. never gets political, but he even weighed in on it in the film Rock Paper Fish — and what he said resonates with me– if you don’t stand up for your own backyard, what will you stand up for?

If you’d like to help save this river, or if you want to learn more about the issue, and see the 20 minute documentary about Haines and Klukwan, the river, the mine, J.R., Lani, Jones, Rafe, Haynes, Teddy, Jess and Kevin (who is now on the borough assembly, thank goodness), please click on the red salmon “Protect the Chilkat” link below.

And remember: today, the pond and island look like this–

But two days ago, they looked like this-

Doesn’t this make you hopeful? Doesn’t it give you faith in this world? And who could not see this and not know it is worth more than gold –or copper or zinc or barite?