There are many news items from an island town in Alaska that are not typically heard down south. Each spring residents are reminded to bring in bird feeders to reduce bear trouble. Citizens are asked to dispose of animal carcasses properly so as to not interfere with airport traffic. And this week, there have been reports on how to handle the latest issue: limited internet connection. I imagine Silicon Valley has never had a week where the ability to draw up Google or retrieve email messages has taken ten minutes or not happened at all. Continue reading
There are places in our lives that we can point back and think: That was truly a magical time. That was a sincerely special place. That was an incredible evening. Occasions, celebrations, and milestones mark the path along our lives where we see the unique moments that make this life spectacular. Continue reading
Baranof Island has receded from my sight but not from my mind. At the ferry terminal several kind friends made the trip to the tip of the island to send me off—complete with snacks, hugs, and even a few tears. My heavy heart was lightened by our silly antics and their teasing of my bulging food sacks. During my stay in Sitka, I could often be found at the water’s edge listening to the waves or marveling at life below the surface. The water always felt healing, a refuge where the expanse seemed endless. Yet, a few hundred miles south from this island, the lower 48 awaited.
On the other side of my apprehension to leave lay the excitement of new adventure: the three day ferry from Sitka to Bellingham, Washington. Known as the poor-man’s cruise along the inner passage, most everyone waiting to board The Columbia—touted as the nicest ferry in the Alaska Marine Highways fleet—carried their own bulging food sacks along with dogs, kayaks, bikes, and more than a few brought tents. While I have not been on one of the big cruise ships, I imagine no one there boards with their own housing arrangements for the deck.
Hit the ON button of any home stereo or car radio in Sitka, Alaska, and the sound of KCAW Raven Radio, The Claw 104.7, will be on the dial. I suppose there are other stations reaching the island, but this is the local one. The one that draws visions of Northern Exposure and Chris the DJ. The transmission happens from the Cable House on Lincoln Street in downtown Sitka where the music, news, and public service announcements provide as much guidance for the locals as the noon church tones and the island’s blinking green signal lights along the coast. Continue reading
The water came up quick and close as we seemed to skim just over top of it before landing on the really, really short air strip. It was January and as the wind started blowing cold down south, I found myself hopping a plane, and then three more for an island…the island of Sitka, Alaska. This spot in southeast Alaska has a harbor of calm waters and a string of towering snow capped mountains. The day I arrived the air was filled with fog and rain. It was quite a shock to look out two days later and see huge mountains flying straight up. I could talk for pages about the weather–the wind, the rain, the stunning sunsets over the water–but it is the nature created in part by the weather that has enveloped and grounded me while simultaneously lifting me up.
But first: How come Alaska? Continue reading