27 February 2008
Another Postponement of Destruction
Banging out the kitchen door, I kicked
before I saw it a thick glass baking dish
I'd set outside for dogs the night before.
It skidded to the top step, teetered, tipped
into an undulating slide from step
to step, almost stopped halfway down, then lunged
on toward concrete, and I froze to watch it
splinter when it hit. Instead, it kissed
the concrete like a skipping stone, and rang
to rest in frost-stiffened grass. Retrieving it,
I suddenly felt my neck-cords letting go
of something like a mask of tragedy.
I washed the dish and put it in its place,
then launched myself into a rescued day.
"We are running a school here. Not a gymnasium. Not a....a....a...roller derby. And certainly not a Model U.N.," Van Heise said. "I've got the same advice for all of them: sit down, shut up, and you'll be out of here in four years."
*the Onion, 'Principle Hates Underachievers, Overachievers'
In America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it...and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen.
To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately...the most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.
*Michel de Montaigne
I only know that I will maintain what I believe to be true in my own universe, and as an individual I will give in to nothing.
* A. Camus
Wilderness is good for the soul. Fight with all that you are to protect it.
Painting of Jesus Totally Knows Area Man Is High
*from the Onion
22 February 2008
i will be leaving fairbanks a week from tomorrow. i'm heading south for another chapter, this one happening with the backdrop of homer, alaska. while my thesis goes through the ranks being approved along the way, i've been enjoying myself in my last weeks here.
twice this week, monday and today, i joined jason and others hiking/skin-ing (how would you spell this?) up moose mountain, a local ski area that is only open on fridays and saturdays. my new-found love of downhill skiing, combined with my adoration of interior alaska, playing outside, early mornings, and my dog's obvious unbridled joy made these two mornings absolutely spectacular.
sorry about the streak in that picture. indeed, i'm not crazy about my new camera and streaking over/fogging up is only one of my many complaints...
kaya and i have been skijoring nearly every other day, last night blaine and i went to see the kite runner at the blue loon. the other night jason and i went to have dinner at the vietnamese place (which i really like) and tonight we're going to have thai with some of the folks jason works with. i've been doing some packing, a lot of getting rid of stuff, walking and playing through the valley on the mushing trails.
ahhh...life is good. i love fairbanks, and i'm excited about the next step.
10 February 2008
Saturday morning I headed to the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks to watch the start of the Yukon Quest - a 1000 mile race between Fairbanks, AK and Whitehorse, Yukon by dog sled. 24 teams are racing this year, and about half the town came out to see the start despite wicked cold temperatures (though at -23F it was considerably warmer than it's been all week...).
It's amazing to think of these dogs & mushers setting off from the start line, with 1000 incredibly tough and incredibly cold miles ahead of them.
the dogs are so ready to go - the teams are attached to a snow machine to rally up to the start line. once the team is the next in line the snow machine unhooks and a slew of volunteers take hold of the lines to keep the dogs from running before their turn.
check out updates on the race here
08 February 2008
well, the vacation has come and gone and i find myself back in good old fairbanks. good old cold fairbanks. indeed the daytime temperatures in town have been getting up to -20 on good days. today the high in town may have been -31. my thermometer outside of my cabin doesn't seem to be working, as the lowest it has registered thus far is -10. not bad - i'm happy to go with that reality, alternate as it may be. up on the chena ridge we're at least a little warmer, and well above the ice fog. i can't fully explain ice fog to those who haven't experienced it. it truly is odd to drive down four miles and once you get near the bottom of the hill you just hit a solid wall of, well, ice fog. the visibility is well under a quarter of a mile, and the air quality is unbelievably bad.
all of this being said, however, i love this town. getting back from thailand has been bittersweet. jason was a trooper and a good friend for coming to pick me up at the airport at one am on sunday morning. just in time to get some sleep, get some groceries, pick up my dog, start a fire in the wood stove (thanks to karl for finally hooking it up) and watch the superbowl!
really, what more could i ask for?
well....aside from the patriots winning, of course. blaine and katie stopped by later on in the evening, blaine of course gloating over the pats loss. whatever. i was still happy to see both of them after being away.
so that's all the sweet part of being back, the semi-bitter part comes with some big news! i got a job!
yep. a job. at least through november, working with the international pacific halibut commission. in homer, alaska. yeehaw, ocean here i come!! it's nothing glamorous, but it gets me to the coast which has been on the post-thesis agenda for awhile now. the semi-kicker about it is that i start the first week of March!
sooo...my relaxing semester ("pulling a Dempsey" if you will..) consisting of TA'ing at the university, leisurely finishing up my thesis, trapping lynx with knut, submitting publications, and casually looking for work has turned into finishing the thesis, packing my wee-cabin into my even more wee car, saying goodbye (for now at least) to a town and community i adore, and heading south! aahhh!! if you know me, you may be aware of how poorly i deal with life changes. they usually happen around my birthday, but this year is comin' early.
i will be practicing breathing, appreciating all that i have around me - good people good wilderness, and being ready for whatever comes. not only ready, but inviting with open arms, mind, and heart.
i will also be exercising, which on a different note has been sorely lacking in my life lately. i've learned that heat/humidity and exercise don't really work out so well for me. tonight jason and i hit the frozen chena river for an exhilarating (read = COLD) skijor out and back from the pump house. my only regret is being unable to have a beer afterwards for the need to run home, feed and leave the dog, and run over to goldstream to babysit. yep. and so here i am on my computer, fabulously happy 2-year-old sleeping upstairs, with the thesis-monkey (who i decidedly did not miss while on vacation) hanging over my shoulder.
so with that, i'm back to editing & formatting my thesis. more pictures from my trip to se asia will go up on flickr at some point soon.
love to you all from the frozen north ~