The Chilkat Valley, and Haines and Klukwan are especially good places to be right now. Both have only had very low (to basically non-existent) Covid-19 cases, none currently, and we have already begun the vaccine roll out. All but two of us on the Sunday church Zoom service have had the first shot. We may not know anyone who has the Corona virus, but I bet everyone in town knows someone that has been vaccinated against it, and may even live with one of them like I do. Papa Bob has his second shot scheduled for January 28, and so do my sister and brother-in-law. My friend Betty and the other elders and workers at Haines Assisted Living have all had their first shot, some teachers have and the firemen and women and the EMTs have too. In a place this small, the bubbles have just gotten a lot safer. On New Year’s Eve a clutch of fishermen and women were called in to the clinic for their shots, and at least a handful of folks whose last name began with B. (It may have been a coincidence? I called the clinic to ask how many people have been vaccinated and which groups, but have not heard back. I’m guessing about 150-200 so far, and I’m also guessing there are only about 1000 people in town right now. My neighbors are all gone for the winter. ) I bet everyone here knows someone who has gotten the shot, and they could be living with them or working with them, or sitting next to them on the stool at the Fogcutter Bar. There is one old guy who hangs out there who scoffed at masks, and the virus in general, and was a tad hostile about all the guidelines, who has had his first dose of the vaccine. Well, God bless him, as the Presbyterians say. A rising tide floats all boats.
I was about to tell you all of that this morning, when I opened an email from two dear old friends. I was on the library board for years with one of them– with the subject line: “Dr. Wakefield warns: This is not a vax, it is irreversible genetic modification.” — “Scary stuff”, they wrote me “Maybe a mind changer”, they hoped.
So here we are. Life is a seesaw. I closed my iPad and opened a book, The Only Kayak, and found truth there from Lao-Tzu via author Kim Heacox: “We shape the clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness that holds whatever we want.”
Plus, what is not to love about this exchange between Kim, and his new pal, a fullback of a midwesterner named Richard, as they embark on their first kayak trip in Glacier Bay. They landed there fresh out of college to be brand new park rangers, as Kim writes: 100 years after John Muir visited, ten years after Woodstock and ten years before the Exxon Valdez. Don’t you love the way he thinks?
I have not read The Only Kayak in years, but this 15th anniversary edition, a gift from Kim, arrived at the perfect time. It’s just wonderful. Read it. It’s so full of sass and hope, and especially love. A whole lot of love for the place we both call home. Southeast, Alaska.
I’m signed up for the vaccine, and frankly, I can’t get mine soon enough. I want to be here a lot longer, and to do so many things it’s past time for, like a kayak trip in Glacier Bay. I have never even been to Denali or cycled to Dawson City. I want to. I’m planning on it.