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 flew from Kodiak to Anchorage first thing Sunday morning, and the plan was to fly Alaska Airlines from there to Juneau shortly after arriving, which meant I’d be able to spend the day and night in Juneau with my daughters and grandson before riding the Haines ferry home on Monday. I had been unable to leave Kodiak Saturday as planned due to a storm, it felt like a hurricane– so I knew better than to count on anything, still, the weather was okay Sunday in Kodiak and good in Anchorage,  and it appeared I’d be on schedule. 

But our Juneau jet was broken. “Mechanical delay” was what the announcement said. “We will have an update in 30 minutes,” those continued until I decided to buy coffee and a Sunday paper, then lunch.  Which was fine. I don’t want to fly if the plane has issues. I have enough of my own. Then they announced that we would be getting a new plane in an hour or so. I bought a caramel and wandered around, finished one book and began another.  Visited with a friend from Skagway and met a nice man who knew a friend of mine in Juneau. Then they said we would board at two. I bought a cup of tea, drinking it before they announced early boarding.  “Don’t get on the plane,” another friend who had been waiting all day too, said. She used to teach in Haines, but lives in Juneau now. 

“Why?”  I asked. I was hoping I wouldn’t be spending the night in the airport.

“My brother is the pilot.”

“And that means…?”  I tried not to look alarmed.  She knows him better than I do. 

She laughed and assured me he is a great pilot. That’s not the worry.

“I just got off the phone with him and he’s still at home,” she said. “It will be a while.”

“Where does he live?”


That’s about an hour away from the airport.

So we watched as some people boarded, the ones who wanted to be on the plane first. The front-of-the-line folks. About an hour later I found my seat in the back row, buckled in, and we all flew safely, and happily to Juneau. (Although by then I decided it was high time for a glass of wine. We were in good hands. I practically knew the pilot, after all.  “It’s on us,” the flight attendant said.)