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.

So I was in bed this morning, and really, really tired, like four in the morning tired, when I rolled over and saw the clock reading 5:25.  On a Monday morning? Chip was also still in bed. He’s usually up at 4:30, I follow him at 5:00. Trixie had nudged her way onto the quilt too, and was hoping I hadn’t noticed that I was wedged in the middle between Chip and a 65 pound golden retriever. Dogs can sense sickness. We must have caught the Covid variant  that is galloping through Haines. (7 cases officially over the weekend, but everyone knows someone that tested postive, and I ran out of fingers to count mine on. We may become the case study for the breakthough Delta virus.  3 of the first 5 are fully vaccinated. We are waiting for more news and a lot more tests today.)

I thought I was fine. I have no symptoms. But then why I am so tired? I did my deep breathing. 4 inhales, hold the breath for 7 counts, then exhale eight. I repeated it  four times and felt better. Trixie sighed. We fell back to sleep. When I woke up Chip was gone and the clock said eight o’clock. I don’t sleep that late on New Year’s Day. This is bad, really bad. I must be sick. But I must need the rest, so listen to your body I coached myself. Sleep. Which of course made resting impossible. I was wide awake. Then I checked my watch. It was 6:00.

“There was a power outage last night,” Chip said peering over the iPad, sipping his coffee.


The weather report is not any better than the virus news: an atmospheric river of rain is supposed to hit later in the week on top of the current storm system with the potential for a lot of rain. (An atmospheric river caused our devastating December slides.) The math on the water is like the Covid numbers. “3-6+ inches” on top of maybe 1-3 inches today, and 1-3 inches tomorrow..  there is also a “potential” for flooding and “isolated landslides.” It’s not raining right now. It is all a guessing game.

My daughter Sarah texted : “Just checking in on you. Hope your anxiety is okay. Deep breath.” She is very steady. As solid as I am wobbly.

Still, I know how to shake the jitters. Stick to my workout routine. Since it’s too stormy to ride outside, I’m back on the Zwift. I did a hard training ride in Austria. Uphill, mostly. I kept getting the “spin slower” warning. Is this God talking?

Afterwards I felt a lot better. Granola and coffee helped too. And so did hearing Dr. Marnie on the radio. (She gave me this active life back after my bad bike accident.) She said the forecast and the Covid alarm are both big fast rivers and it’s important to acknowledge that, but not get caught in those cold currents of fear and worry. Watch the rivers go by from the safety of shore, she said. Take good care of yourself and if you can, someone else.

Saturday, in the calm before the storm, while Papa Bob napped, Chip and I rode our bikes to the end of Mud Bay Road and then to Chilkoot Lake, about 37 miles. I wish I could describe how beautiful this place is. The jade green water, the mountains, the sky, the fading fireweed and the ripening berries. Bear poop in the road, eagles in the trees. When we got home I battened down the garden and moved the geraniums and dahlias inside and into the greenhouse to protect them from the wind and rain. Summer will return when this passes. Chip hooked up the sump pumps in the basement and I stacked wood on the porch and split a bucket of kindling. To be ready. Papa Bob likes his fire. Then I baked some more banana bread.

As wiggy as I am, it’s mostly on the surface. That’s what I told Sarah after she texted me to calm down. I am actually very good at a crisis once it’s happening. It’s the build up that wears me out.  Blame it on an overactive writer’s imagination (and to be fair, the first hand knowledge that a truck can run you over— but that you can live through it.)

Which is a long way of saying that I am not poet enough to describe my gratitude to be here right now. But I can tell you that I loved seeing that classic old black-hulled white-pilot house salmon tender steaming out of the harbor with the red cannery buildings in the background when we pedaled by, and I really love weathered shingles, weeds in the gravel, moss on the decking, Little League games, texts from my daughters telling me to breathe, friends that make me laugh. The things the little grandchildren say to each other when they don’t know I’m listening. Garden peas. Dahlias as big as pie plates, breathing to Marnie’s guidance on the radio with one hand on my heart and the other on my coffee cup (why not?!)– and knowing that I am one of the lucky ones, to be safe at home (with my dad and the dogs) waiting out the twin storms barreling down on us. I pray they spare our community.