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.

Usually when I drive to the pool at 5:50 everyone on my road is still asleep. The windows are dark, well, except for the holiday strings that hopefully will stay on until the daylight catches up with the darkness. We will pass 7 hours today for the first time. There are 7 hours and one minute to be exact. Well, according to the Earth, Air and Water Report on KHNS. But this morning, inside lights were on all along our road. I saw one neighbor at his window looking out at the moon, the river and snowy mountains. It was bright in our room last night, when the dogs growled after midnight, and we looked down from the window and saw the cow moose post-holing in the yard trying to reach the branches of the tall mountain ash trees. She struggled to move in the shoulder deep snow. I didn’t mind if she trimmed them especially since she doesn’t like my cherry trees. As Chip said, “Imagine having nothing to eat but sticks.”


It had been a long night– a friend is not well, then we heard a medevac helicopter– then the texts pinged. It’s all okay now, I think. Until the next near miss.

The visiting moose was a kind of gift. Reminding me of our place in the world and how it is sometimes hard, sometimes kind. And so it goes, as Papa Bob used to say.

Yesterday, church was on Zoom again because of the local Covid surge, but we listened to the service from Boston University’s Marsh Chapel. I am a fan of The Rev. Dr. Robert Allen Hill (also called Bob). He  said, “The human being, to be human, needs space and time for being. Otherwise we become human doings, not human beings. For this reason, God made deep winter.” (And many more wise thoughts, especially about listening better to prophets from Amos to Martin Luther King Jr, and to each other. And if you can hear her, or him, God.)

On Saturday morning at 4:30 people (and dogs) all over Haines woke right up to big booms, like thunder, or cannons, or, I thought, the heavy snow finally sliding off the roof and crashing to the ground. Of course, there were many phone calls and texts and alerts about a tsunami warning all along the coast (Haines is not on the outer coast, we are ninety miles up a fjord on the inside waters of Southeast AK.) But avalanches can cause local waves if the side of a mountain sluffs off, hits the inlet and splashes back up. It was low tide here where the river meets the inlet, and the wide delta is already too shallow for anything except a canoe or kayak– still, the hillsides are scarred with old avalanche chutes. A person who worries could worry about this. She could. It took a while to coax the dogs out for their walk.

Turns out– and you may know this already–  the big bangs were  sonic booms generated by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’ a pai  volcanic eruption nearly 6,000 miles across the Pacific from Alaska. It’s astounding. Wonderful. Amazing. Talk about listening to prophets.While we were all just “being” hunkered down in winter, a shot was actually heard around the world.  You don’t have to be a poet or a priest to know that Turtle Island is trying to get our attention.

I came home from the pool and wrote an obituary for Papa Bob. That suddenly seemed so important.

I will let you think about all of this while I take a walk. It is a blue bird day. (The first one in weeks. Maybe months? Another sign?) Later, I will sit back down in the dusky afternoon and answer more of your thoughtfull emails about my dad (and other things). I do read them all- and have read many already–  they mean a lot. Thank you.