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 came home in time to vote in the Republican caucus poll, but am not a Republican so I couldn’t. The Republican I am married to did not vote. He can’t see any of the candidates being president. One friend summed the election this way:

“Twenty-six people in Haines voted for Trump yesterday. TWENTY SIX …I’m getting on the ferry tonight. One way ticket. Buh-bye.”

Luckily it’s a beautiful spring day, so she may reconsider. But I know how she feels. Did 26 of my neighbors really cast a ballot for a racist bully? 

While I was in Kodiak, I discovered Brian Doyle, a writer from Portland, OR. I know, you may say, ‘how didn’t you know him?’ There are so many wise and brave writers out there, I won’t live to read them all even if I were stuck in airports and riding slow ferries for the rest of my life. February — twice even– I was reminded of the Cohen lyrics about how the light gets in (the cracks), and there it was again. Doyle’s little book of short prose poems is titled, “How The Light Gets In.” In it, I have met a kind of literary friend. This morning, after I railed about the state of the election, in Haines and everywhere,  I turned randomly to one of his poems about Catholic confession (and a lot more as all good poems are), and at the end he arrived at the heart of the matter, when the priest, in a voice “often so calm and gentle”, asks–  “Say what it is you most want to say, and have not.”

What is it that I most want to say and have not? Last night we had a birthday party, for a granddaughter who is now 4. We cooked salmon (Lani’s father is a fisherman as was his father and grandfather before him) and mashed potatoes and salad, and she didn’t feel very good, because she has a cold, so was allowed “just this once” to eat cake even though she hadn’t eaten much of her dinner, and she let her little sister help blow out the candles, and we all sang Happy Birthday, and when it was time for her to walk home, flashlight in hand, with my gentle daughter and her sweet husband across the yard to their happy little house, Lani put her arms around my neck, kissed me twice and said, “I love you,” and I said ‘I love you” back. That’s all we have to do, isn’t it? Love one another. And that is what I most want to say, today.