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.

Yesterday I thought my monthly Zoom writing group ( terrific, wise and witty women from all over) met at 8 AM Alaska time. I said I might be a few minutes late, since when it is not raining, I have a daily 6 AM date with my hardworking husband to ride our bikes 30 miles or so before he heads to the lumberyard, but at 7:50 we were still on the other side of town. It was windy on the way out to the lake and took longer. Anyway, I was here:

And I needed to be on the back side of the Fort (the tall white buildings) and home on Mud Bay Road quickly , so I raced across the front of town and up and over, and arrived in my driveway at 8. ( I beat Chip, who went up the Lutak hill and through Main Street. He took the high road and I took the low road.)

I sat down at my computer feeling quite smug, clicked the meeting link– and saw it wasn’t until 9.

Which is why what happened later in the day should not have been a surprise.The neighbors were coming for drinks on the deck before dinner. About a half hour before they were due at 4:30, the  wind kicked up and the scattered rain drops got bigger and more serious– so I moved everything inside, wiped the pollen dust off the table.Vacuumed, picked fresh flowers and even switched a dog bed from our room with one in the living room –it stunk like wet fur and low tide mud.

This isn’t  a story about weather.

At 4:45 I texted my friend and asked where they were.

She texted back “In the garden.”

Mine? Where?

No. Hers.

Aren’t you coming here?


What? (This was Weds…)

I had already opened a fancy bottle of wine to let it breathe. The cheese was room temperature and sliced. I texted my daughter but she was busy. My friend Teresa replied and said she’d be right over as soon as she cleaned up. She had just finished staining her deck before the rain began.

Here’s what I want you to know:

My writers group was more fun because I was able to shower first, and because I was in a great mood from riding my bike so fast (you should have seen me climb those hills), and Teresa and I had a lot of fun–  laughing at me and us and all of it– (although she was a little ticked that she hadn’t been invited the first time)– but mostly I feel so fortunate for muddy dogs, flexible friends, summer days and just being here now at this moment when all is well. It feels like a gift. More so because the news from Outside has been making me so sad, angry and frustrated, and I cannot seem to reconcile this life with the one out beyond the borders of Haines. Going dark on light summer days so full of good things does not help anything, does it? So I hope this is okay. I really do.

When my sister Suzanne and I cleaned out our father Papa Bob’s house to prepare it for sale, our other sister Kathleen ( who could not be there) called and asked who was taking Voltaire? Suzanne and I both said not us–. Voltaire’s bust was on our French grandfather’s book shelf, and then at our house growing up after Grandpa Vuillet died. My parents even moved to the country with him.  “You can have him,” I told Kathleen. “I don’t want him!” she said, “But you can’t leave him there. Someone has to take him.” Suzanne said, “No way.” I am the oldest sister, so I wrapped him in a towel and stuffed him in a box, and he arrived in Alaska in one piece anyway. He’s looking over my shoulder right now, and perhaps mumbling about how awful the world of  human governments, economies and religions can be, “…but somehow, I am still in love with life.”