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’ve been getting teased a bit about telling Borough Manager Sosa that hope is a course of action in Haines. It happened at the last planning commission meeting (I’m on the commission). We had just listened to an hour of testimony from folks who want to the keep the Mosquito Lake School open for a community center, and hopefully ready to be a school again should 10 children enroll.  (The school is 26 miles from the main school in town, and has been there over 30 years. This is the first year enrollment dropped below 10.) The manager wanted to have the option to sell it should a buyer come forward. When the manager said, “Hope is not a course of action.” I looked at all the faces in the room, many of whom I have known for years, and thought about that some more, and concluded that in Haines, it actually it is.
Hope that the car will make it to town. Hope that if we buy the land we can build the cabin that will become the house. Hope we can find a job, and once we do it will pay the bills. Hope the garden will grow, hope the fish will run. Hope that this dark rainy January will become February  and the sun will shine on the mountains again. 

I explained that to the manager afterwards, and he smiled. I reminded him that he has the authority to do a lot of good and I hope that he does. He’s a Marine, the definition of a man of action. I’m a writer, the definition of a dreamer. Experience taught him that hope is not a course of action, thirty years in Haines (and five children and now five grandchildren) have taught me it is. “That’s not entirely true,” he said. “You have worked hard.” 

He’s right. We both are. How about if we say hope fuels action?