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.

Our lumberyard did not burn down this morning, although the fast roaring fire next door was pretty scary, and thanks to the great Haines Volunteer Fire Department it was contained to one substantial shed at Leo and George Ann Smith’s place. Leo lost his boat, and tools, and they had full freezers in there, and one window in the house broke from the heat,  but that’s it.  (The shed is nothing but charcoal.) The way the north wind was blowing off the cove it’s a miracle the 100 year-old Army sheds Leo’s newer outbuilding backed up against didn’t catch, or their house just feet away, or the area shops or the Fireweed or our  big sheds full of kiln dried wood– the whole block could have been lost. Chip and I were just coming in from our morning bike ride out the highway when Mike pedaled towards us on the recumbent bike he rides to work on. He crossed over to the center line  to see us. It was pretty quiet in front of the school today, with only the staff in for the end of the year clean-up, but Mike  is Mr. Safety, and  being a cycling advocate he knows his rules of the road–  so I knew something must be up. He said the fire trucks were all in front of Chip’s store, Lutak Lumber, but  he didn’t think it was on fire, yet.  After we sped on down and checked on the action, and saw everything was fine– and  thanked the firemen, and told George Ann  we were sorry about the boat and the shed but happy she and Leo were safe, we pedaled up and over the blustery hill home. The entire ride I had been preoccupied with worry and fretting about all kinds of very important things like books to write and gardens to plant and wedding invitations to mail and what will I wear? And why won’t my dog come when she’s called? Terribly important things. Sometimes a near miss is just what a person needs to put life in perspective, you know?