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 bought myself Mary Oliver’s new essay collection for Christmas. Of one winter, she writes, “there was so much darkness. Darkness of nature, darkness of event, darkness of spirit. The sprawling darkness of not knowing…”  Sound familiar? Then she writes of the light of faith or perhaps hope– she’s not sure what to call it– that comes from that darkness, and even requires it, in a way, in order to be seen. It’s not a new idea, but it’s important to remember. Emerson said darkness makes light visible, and Leonard Cohen sang of the cracks that let the light in– and of course the darkness itself has beauty. Only the blackest nights can produce the brightest Northern Light shows. Anyway, this is all good to think about as we close 2016, which in our family is the year of a new baby, which doesn’t get more hopeful than that. I think too, sometimes we learn too much too fast, with non-stop news and information, I sometimes can’t tell dark from light, or at least take time for both in balance– it all just piles on and makes  a gray mess,  and so, may I gently suggest turning off the power and taking a walk? (This is me speaking to me…) Lighting a candle instead of a screen? 

We are spending New Year’s Eve with the grand kids in a cabin the woods, with no electricity and an out house. I’m packing the simplest of meals, and hiking in, shortly. As soon as it is light enough to see our way down the trail.

I did want to let you know that the Polar Bear swim is noon New Year’s Day at the Port Chilkoot Dock, and there is special borough assembly meeting Tuesday at 6:30 to discuss the interim manager hire and talk to the attorney about  a few things.

“Faith, as I imagine it, is tensile and cool, and has no need of words,” Mary Oliver writes. “Hope, I know, is a fighter and a screamer.”

I wish you joy, peace, faith, and especially a lot of noisy, messy hope for this New Year.