A Nice Break
I fibbed a little when I said I was off on a writing retreat. I really went out to Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) to surprise my daughter, who is the elementary school principal there. (I couldn't say so because she might have read it.) The Aleutians are a long way from here. Also, cell service is not so great, and I didn't buy internet time (that's the way out there, apparently.) I listened to an hour or so of the local, state, and national news on the radio in the morning and called it good.
"Sounds like Shangri-La," my friend Tom says. Unalaska looks like that mythical Tibetan mountain paradise, too.
This isn't the best picture.
I took about 200 better ones, but I am having technical difficulties moving images from the camera to the computer. Guess the low tech life rubbed off on my Haines devices. Trust me, it's an amazingly beautiful place. I kept thinking this must be what Scotland is like- the craggy, treeless hills, the way the weather moves through, the quiet, the wind, and the peace so close to the bustle of the largest fishing port in the country. As I climbed up the hills, I kept turning around and around and around saying "wow" to the sky and the water, and the eagles and even the black fox who trotted up the trail and paused to take a long look at me before sauntering off and vanishing, into, I don't know what. There seems to be no cover at all. Once, I stacked a row of little cairns to guide me back down from the heather and sedges to the trail I'd hiked up on. You'd think the route would be clear, but the landscape was hard for me to read. I had to slow way down and pay attention. It was peaceful and challenging at the same time.
Do we seek what we need or does what we need find us? That's a big question for the middle of the day in the middle of the week, but worth pondering, should you have time.
I spent evenings with my daughter cooking, eating, talking, and watching funny TV shows on DVDs. (New Girl and Seinfeld.) I read a lot too, all novels: Breakfast with the Buddha, The Alaskan Laundry, The March.
One thing I learned which you don't have to fly all the way to Dutch Harbor to discover, is that the internet's continuous play-by-play of tragedy, politics, news, and entertainment; what's happening right this second at your house or mine-- is not good for my heart or head. I don't need to know every thing every second. After a week offline, I really hadn't missed much at all.
(Except for you of course. Thank you for reading what I write. Very, very much.)