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 am just home from a family party down the road at Beth and Gregg’s lodge at the Chilkat inlet Retreat. As soon as I finished washing the potluck pans I told my daughter I better get to blogging. I am pretty tired (I did a radio show this afternoon,and bought a 30 lb turkey for Christmas that is thawing in the fridge in the garage.) I may miss a day, I said.  JJ said, ” Make a postcard. Say something like ‘ it was magic tonight.’ That will be fine. They will understand, and it was magic.”

I said I couldn’t post postcard photos because I didn’t bring a phone to the party and so I don’t have any pictures. ( I do share a lot, but not everything. It is a gift to be present– sorry to sound corny but this is absolutely true–  time and attention are more valuable and needed gifts than anything I can buy for me and my family.) “I took some,” JJ said, “Use them.”

There were many levels of magic tonight– this community,  family, friends, the warm wood lodge, the starry lung-grabbing cold night, the food – salmon and cookies and salads and wine in mason jars– the kids from 6 months to seventy-something-I’ll-never -tell–

The love.

The common history.

All my changes are here, as Neil Young sings — Chip’s too, and our children’s and these friends that have known us for forty years and our children since they were born. There was a  real magic show too– with Neil, who stopped in on his way to play pool at the Fogcutter Bar, so he couldn’t stay to eat. He tore up a Chilkat Valley News and put it back together right before our eyes. Everyone clapped. He made the twisty  balloon hats too.

At  dinner Chip gave a toast explaining that when we came to Alaska he and I were all by ourselves. Our friends became our family, and now we have this really big family– but he said, we wanted our friends to know that our family is theirs too.

It’s a full circle, crowded table kind of life and it feels really good. No wonder I’m singing Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow. Hang a shining star upon the highest bough…