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.

It is the onion, memory, that makes me cry–  Craig Raine

2:00 pm, Juneau, Twin Lakes, 37 degrees, light rain, south wind with gusts up to 25 mph. The snow has turned to slush.

I did not walk this morning since Chip came in on the Hoonah ferry last night about midnight, and as soon as we were up we had to drive back out to a friend’s house where the other Haines hunters were staying and organize loads for tomorrow’s ferry to Haines and gather up gear. Coffee and stories involved.

While we were there, I heard the news about a landslide in Wrangell last night during the storm. Just like the one in Haines in 2020. Three homes were destroyed they say, at least one person is dead. Others are missing. More have been evacuated. The hills are unstable.

We had been so happy and busy and carrying on with life as if we will live forever, the way people are supposed to. But this, this news makes your heart stop. It’s so similar to the Haines story that we live with everyday.  Every time I see the slide scar. In Southeast Alaska homes are built on hills and towns are at the base of steep mountains. This is us. I thought about all of this as I walked up the steep hills back to my daughter’s house.

I met on a man on the corner, and said, “lovely day”. He took me at my word, which was less than sincere– “Yes it is!” He said.”The snow is gone and it’s not raining.” My glasses were so wet that I couldn’t see him very well. My rain pants were soaked. My face was wet. I suppose in Juneau they don’t call it rain unless the drops are a certain size? The moisture was more like a cold vaporizer. The air was wet with cold fog. Still, he made me laugh, and I needed that.

When I got back to the house the family were all there. The guys had just finished cleaning up the deer and were showering. I had a note from a Wrangell friend that linked to the newspaper there– the first article I read news was all about the community helping. Free coffee, open rooms, warm beds, clothes,  meals, movies for children, power strips to plug in devices — the Coast Guard is there too. Yes, Mr. Rogers was right– look to the helpers. There are so many, all around us, all the time.