A big excavator knocked down the years vacant Primary School yesterday in all that rainy wind. The building wasn't much, and should have been torn down long ago. I do remember a few heavy snowfalls that made the flat roof sag. The small, brown painted plywood school was built as temporary classrooms during the timber heyday, and used for the next thirty years for Kindergarten, first and second graders, and I think, for a few years, third graders, was greater than the sum of its lowly parts. It was not the kind of schoolhouse you would want a picture of on the wall, or even the fridge.
In Yoga class yesterday Nancy, our teacher, read from the wisdom of a Yogi who said we need to find inspiration in the ordinary, and that the way to do that is breathe and clear our minds. We laid back on blankets with eye pillows on. There are about fifteen woman and one man in the class. He is filming the fake miners at the gold mine up the road. He told the botanist from Britain who is studying the butter and egg plants near my beach, all about it. I couldn't help overhear while I was clearing my mind and breathing. He said the show is like the Deadliest Catch, only at a gold mine.
You can tell Tom was a little shorthanded at the paper last week because he ran this rather long interview with me about the cross-country team which I coached, but you might find it interesting. The new CVN reporter has arrived, and she is a terrific young reporter and writer-- a journalism major from Northwestern.
I pretended that Thursday and Friday were the weekend this week, and did all those chores I haven't done on the weekends I've been traveling with the cross country team-- and before that having knee surgery, and before that all the book tour and summer residency for my MFA. Men don't understand that women like to have everything in order before we play. Chip keeps saying he doesn't mind whenever one of the spice jars crashes to the counter from the stuffed cabinet, but I kind of do. In all, I've been gone at least half of every month since April.
The sky was just getting light when I walked home from Morning Muscles at seven. Up by Fort Seward I heard a jingling, and then saw a small flashing red light. As they both came closer I saw the light was on a dog collar and the bear bells were on the owner's coat. "Hi Heather" she said, and kept walking down toward the beach. The ground was scattered with yellow birch and cottonwood leaves, gulls called and a raven chortled. The trucks working on the new dock warmed up and rumbled. It was quieter on the back side of town, coming over Cemetery Hill to the Chilkat River.
I do apologize for not telling you all about our trip to Anchorage and back with the cross-country team. We left at 7am Thursday morning and made it to Glenallen by about 10:30pm where we spent the night, and then drove on down to Anchorage Friday, arriving about noon. (We did manage to make the wrong turn after supper at Fast Eddie's in Tok and drove about forty miles toward Fairbanks before we realized our error. That interior spruce forest looks the same everywhere.
My physical therapist, Dr. Marnie the Wonderful, has a new blog for this season's Well & Fit Community Challenge, a great class she facilitates at Community Ed for anyone wishing to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit. (At least that's what I see it as.) Last week she suggested writing a note to someone you appreciate.
Yesterday I took Caroline to lap-sit story hour at the library. There were 17 babies between 6 months to three years old there, along with their parents and grandparents. It was crowded and happy and diverse-- all the best things about this community. This was October. These were not summer people or visitors. They were us. Community matters, so today I'm voting for community values-- for children, for the library, for education and recreation, for the pool and a downtown facelift.
We are off at dawn to Anchorage with the cross country team. The good news is that we aren't taking the Dalton Trail, we are driving in the school van, and Gary put the studs on. I'll let you know how we do Monday. Now I have to make a thermos of coffee and check the weather in Tok. I think it is snowing in the pass. Dear Lord, our van is so small and Alaska and the Yukon are so big-- have mercy on us.
Here is how coaches survive traveling with fifteen teenagers-- the kind of travel that includes sleeping on the floor in school gyms and classrooms for three nights out of every seven for five weeks in a row-- when you unfold from a sleepless night under a desk in a math classroom at six on Sunday morning,your face imprinted with the carpet design, hobble to the door and pad down a hallway littered from last night's big dance (which you chaperoned without ear plugs, and that could explain the buzzing in your head) toward the public restroom, and see your co-coach sitting on a chair in the h