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 was wrong when I said taking care of a baby is easy as long as you don’t have to do anything else. Or maybe not, as the trouble is there is always something else to do. Like take a shower, or drink your coffee, or start supper.  Or worry about a planning commission meeting that is dividing friends and family and making you cry, and decide that public service may not be for you– and trying to read the packet again to figure out what it all really means, only it is not a packet at all, but a file on your computer, and paper is easier to shuffle while holding a baby than a laptop. Then again, as my son, who is somewhere near the end of a Grand Canyon rafting trip (he’s been out of cell range since Feb. 14) would say, I am lucky that these are the problems of a person rich enough to have time for babies and public service and who has friends and family that care about her and visa versa.

It is amazing how being home with an infant brings me right back to where I was 31 years ago emotionally and physically. My hair even smells like baby puke and I’m wearing yoga pants covered in dog hair.  I cry and laugh in the same breath, a lot. James naps in motion, which is good for both of us. The false spring last week made the twice daily strolls and hikes so easy. Winter came back this week, and the ice and snow have been more challenging, and yesterday’s wind and cold and snow kept us indoors all day. Sort of. James still prefers sleeping in the stroller, so after some rolling back and forth, he napped in the garage. (It’s attached to the house, and I had the door open into the mud room and checked on him every ten seconds for two hours, so don’t call the social worker.)

 Just like when my children were babies I listen to the radio ( Terry Gross had a wonderful show yesterday on a new memoir called “Bettyville” about a urbane gay man from New York City who returns to his hometown of Paris, Missouri to care for his elderly mother) and keep up with the laundry, cleaning, and meals.  One difference today is how connected family and friends are by the ping of texts. That’s how I heard the Haines avalanche news, from the first message about an ambulance call to the airport to pick up a skier who had been caught in an avalanche: “He’s breathing” and  “Pray.” To the text a few hours later that it was local guide Scott Sundberg and he was miraculously– if history is any guideline in these matters—okay. No medevac even. No broken bones. “Advil?” one text said.  Another said “air bag!” The safety device that I know saved the life of the heli-ski accident survivor in our family.

Oh James, oh children and grandchildren of mine, oh people I love– if I could keep you all in airbags and safe from harm –physical surely, but also those blows to the heart which can hurt even more– I would. 

In the meantime it is Lent. Do you think it is coincidence or providence that the daily devotion emailed to my phone in the middle of all this said: “There is a perfect correlation between how we give and what we can receive. Consider this for the rest of your life”?