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.

My friend Frank Soos ( a former Alaska Writer Laureate) has died riding his bike. It was an accident, I heard his wheel came off.I cannot explain how sad I feel right now, but I can tell you what another poet friend of mine, Naomi  Nye says: “People do not pass away. They die, and they stay.” Frank has written enough, and been such a good friend and mentor to so many, that he’s definitely staying.

It’s unusual to have a writer friend who is also a cyclist with the same kind of compulsion for those things that I have. I keep Frank’s encouraging, kind words to me about my writing  close. Calling what I do a gift was his great gift to me. I will do my best to live up to his expectations, to follow his instructions:

“Tell yourself, tell the people you love, tell everybody–Look! See! A world rich with wonder lies before us. Right here. Right now.”

And I will keep riding my bike too, because it helps me to look and see,  as well as write those drafts and edit them in my head. Frank used to do that too. That’s one of the things I loved about him.