Thursday, September 2, 2010

Skagway: Renewal and Reassurance

Taiya River, north of Dyea, Alaska
I was feeling burned out from juggling two jobs here in Skagway, Alaska, fretting about lack of hours, a chronic problem. Too, I’m so far from home and a prevailing sense of isolation and loneliness was taking its toll. But then last week Chilkat Float Tours treated everyone at Alaska Excursions to a ride down Taiya River.

Can a day be lovelier? A lazy river, salmon spawning, eagles soaring, sun looping through a cerulean sky, hang gliders adding color to a glacier glinting off the horizon. Everywhere I looked the raw wilderness spread forever, untouched and pristine as the day God made it, gently lifting me into a place of peace.

“Hey! Anyone lose $10?” Our guide pointed to a ten-dollar bill floating on the river’s surface.

Rest. Renewal. Reassurance. Someday I'll go home, but I'll take with me this moment of time and abundance.

Hang Glider Above Nelson Glacier

Steve and Hunter

Shady

End of the Float...


Skagway: Flies, Faces, and Friendship

There is a woman in Skagway. Maybe sixty. Maybe seventy. It’s Alaska...maybe fifty. I got a chance to introduce myself one day when she came out to Jewell Gardens where I work. She’d just taken a picture of a fly on our blue bench.

Her face is lined like the rich patina of an ancient cup. When she speaks, one side of her mouth lifts into a thing of sweetness. But the lines deepen and sharpen, and I fear a fragility in her that might break into too many pieces for me to gather and put back together.

I sat on the bench beside her and admired her fly.

We say “hey” now all the time, friends. For her fly was lovely; and from her eyes I see beauty in flies, faces, and friendship.