29 March 2008

happy for the present moment.

this poem came today from garrison and the writer's almanac.

given the gray skies outside, and the solid chance of snow showers, i think it is well-timed as a reminder to look up and smile.

always. look up and smile.

both in the summer, and in the winter, and in all of the beautiful days in between.

"Snow, Aldo" by Kate DiCamillo. © Kate DiCamillo. Used with permission of Pippin Properties, Inc.

Snow, Aldo

Once, I was in New York,
in Central Park, and I saw
an old man in a black overcoat walking
a black dog. This was springtime
and the trees were still
bare and the sky was
gray and low and it began, suddenly,
to snow:
big fat flakes
that twirled and landed on the
black of the man's overcoat and
the black dog's fur. The dog
lifted his face and stared
up at the sky. The man looked
up, too. "Snow, Aldo," he said to the dog,
"snow." And he laughed.
The dog looked
at him and wagged his tail.

If I was in charge of making
snow globes, this is what I would put inside:
the old man in the black overcoat,
the black dog,
two friends with their faces turned up to the sky
as if they were receiving a blessing,
as if they were being blessed together
by something
as simple as snow
in March.

25 March 2008

spring may be on her way...

(from today's Writer's Almanac. Thanks, as always, to Garrison Kiellor)

"Findings" by Tami Haaland, from Breath in Every Room: Poems. © Story Line Press, 2001.


Found what I think are the breast feathers
of a flicker lying in the melting snow
in front of the house. Found a crow feather
in Bozeman one spring and have kept it
in a vase on top of the dresser. Yarrow grows
where my son planted a root last summer,
and hyssop seeds have sprouted
with the wildflowers. Found spearmint
growing under the outside faucet
and tiny blue snails in the fallen apples
and black and white hornets stumbling drunk
around the rotting apples in August. The columbine
had eight inches of new growth in January,
and two summers ago found a red-shafted flicker
lying in the alley behind my house
with grass in its throat and wasps
crawling in and out of its mouth.
Its wing feathers were dazzling
and I took them, buried its body
in tall weeds, saved the feathers
in checkbook boxes in the dresser
beside a Norwegian pewter cake server,
a twenty dollar bill, some old ribbons
and a flat rock from the Marias.
His mate remained in the neighborhood until fall,
and this February a pair or flickers returned
to eat last year's sunflower seeds
at the side of the garage.
One spring, hundreds of crows filled a single tree,
their black wings shifting against dense bodies
and air, their voices calling across leaves
then reeling into space.
Saw flickers in the park last spring,
a male calling with such racket
my son covered his ears, and
from across the park, through twigs
and leaves pushing out from resinous shells,
a female approached, blended into bark
and clouds, and for an instant, opened to the sound.

22 March 2008

ah, life.

sitting here and looking at the gray skies outside and the trees swaying in the wind, i have some reflections on life that i've been pondering lately.

one is that i've been feeling homesick and missing the community and the vast openness of fairbanks and the interior.  i've been here for all of three weeks, so patience my friend - i know, i know.  i'm also a bit of a home-body...when given my druthers on many nights i'd rather just stay in and hang doing projects at home than go out to the bar. it's true, as lame as that might be. it's also partially the winter-mode, which i'm slowly moving out of and stretching my legs, as it were.  it help immensely when there's blue skies and sun that emerge out of the darkness of dawn.

possibly as a result of feeling uprooted, but also something i know i've held for a long time, i feel a strong draw towards settling in and homesteading.  i want some goats and sheep, a big veggie garden, wildflowers. i want to wake up at dawn every morning with a huge list of chores to do, and a never-ending array of tasks to tackle in order to make things run smoothly and garner enough income to make it through another winter.   i want to keep my tools in good working order, to build furniture, to spin wool and knit by the fire in the dead of winter with dried flowers hanging from the log rafters.  i know it's awfully romanticized, but i like to think that i know the meaning of hard work and barely scraping by. and that i would like to have land, and build or fully renovate a home.  last night, first thing this morning, all day today that has been on my mind. and it's a recurring dream, one that maybe will someday come true.

in the meantime....

i'm training for the gold nugget triathlon in anchorage in may. and by training i mean learning to swim freestyle.  this is very very difficult for me, and i've been really enjoying the challenge!  the people at the pool are *great* and it's really fun to have a very solid task in front of me.  additionally i am SO HAPPY to be working my body again! 

this afternoon kaya and i went skiing up at mcneil canyon.  it was beautiful, snowy, windy and with incredibly dark and beautiful clouds rolling in.

homeandwork in homer here's a picture of homer from the lookout point on the ski trail kai and i were on.  it's a little hard to see the spit, but i promise there's a wee bit of land there stickin' out into kachemak bay!  the orange arrow points to where i work, at the end of the spit.  the blue arrow points to approximately where i live, about 2miles from downtown homer.

dog closeup_2 dog closeup_1

and this is the snow halibut i made yesterday while shoveling my driveway. it's an homage to the white side. 

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it fell over shortly after taking this second picture. i have some work to do before entering any snow-sculpting contests. but it's mighty fun, is all i'm sayin' is all.

02 March 2008

and here we are!

alright. i just threw out a post on the trip south to homer.  and now, for the update you've possibly been waiting for, how is homer itself?!

#1. the town itself is really really beautiful. although nothing beats new england for a cute downtown area, so far what i've seen of homer i like a lot. and the spit reminds me very much of home, all shuttered up in the winter, teeming (no doubt) with tourists come summer.


#2. i love the ocean. i can't state it enough...my heart swelled when i smelled the salt water, and when it's quiet at night i can hear the waves from my new house.  my other true love is mountains, and as you can see - here i get them both. excellent! kaya was initially quite apprehensive about the waves rolling in, but she quickly took to it.

seeing my dog running on the beach and in the waves was good for my soul and makes me smile to no end.

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#3. we have indoor plumbing!!!!  i feel kind of like i've wimped out, but i must say that i love taking a shower at my own home! yeah!!! and the kitchen has a great counter, which once i get stools will be a close-approximation to a breakfast bar! yeah!  (in case you didn't know, i've always wanted a breakfast bar...)  last night i did pee outside, just 'cause kaya had to, and so did i, and so there i went. this pleased me on the account of the fact that my neighbors are blocked enough from view that i didn't have to hide to pop a squat. yeah!  we have lots of moose in the 'hood, however, and so kaya doesn't get to be outside unattended. and really should probably usually be tied up outside...some of the tracks in the yard are *huge*. word on the street is that three large bulls call the area home these days. excellent. 

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we live exactly 2.5 miles from megan murphy, who lives directly behind the library and right near the base of the spit.  and is a wonderful wonderful friend, who took me out last night to see a local punk/rock/punkrock band, the matress ranchers, at a great bar - alices' champagne palace.  good beer, good people, good (rockin') music, all within a few miles from the ocean and my new home.

out with the old, in with the new.

  well, the time came this week to pack my car, pack a uhaul trailer to tow behind it, load up the dog, and head south to homer, alaska.  the night before i left i had a few people over to say goodbye, and burn some papers that had accumulated throughout the years...


kaya and i left fairbanks on thursday afternoon around 2:30.  i had decided on a whim to split the trip up into two days, one to anchorage and then the next day to homer.  all told it is a 600 mile trip.  the car was soooooo loaded down that we went between 40 and 50 miles/hour the entire.way.there.  good lord it took a very very very long time.  kaya had resigned herself to our new life, driving and stopping every couple of hours to pee and quickly run around.

P2280024 P2280027 we didn't stop at skinny dicks, i was just too focused on the destination and this particular landmark is only about 50 miles from fairbanks.  had i stopped, however, i would have bought a sweatshirt for deb. i have been planning on doing this for years, but never followed through. sorry, chica!  (i'm sure you're terribly broken up about it...)


we stopped for gas in healy, at the best gas station on the parks highway.  


P2280040P2280034  and then a bit later on, south of cantwell, we stopped for kaya's dinner.  mmmm...dog food on the side of the road, at the base of beautiful beautiful mountains.  i love the parks hwy, and i love love this section.  stunningly beautiful, on a completely clear evening.  as i was driving so slowly i had plenty of time to enjoy it. 


kaya slept wrapped around the gearshift for much of the trip. safe, i know. but only once did she put us into neutral (causing me to quietly and without surprise assume that we had lost the transmission before i realized what had happened)

 P2280044 we stayed at brian's on thursday night and it was wonderful to see him, catch up a bit, sleep soundly after a long long drive.  we left anchorage the next morning around 930.  i snapped this photo on the way out of the city on the seward hwy - another one for deb.  come to alaska! join the roller derby!!

P2280053 there was lots and lots of snow over turnagin pass, but we made it. slowly. so slowly...

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kai didn't do a great job of looking out for moose. she would for a little while, and then get bored and fall asleep. the one moose we did see while driving was running (fast!) down the side of the road. she never even twitched an ear.

P2290067                                       my first glimpse of the water!!! P2290072holy camoly, the mountains here are HUGE and right on the other side of the water!!! yeah!!!P2290073

home sweet home. sweet homer. love it, i absolutely love it.