Thursday, April 17, 2008
"Ah," she grinned knowingly, winking, pointing her crooked finger toward us, "Alaska will call you back. She will. You'll see."
The tiny old Alaskan lady was right. Alaska calls. She beckons. She woos. It's almost a spiritual thing, this missing of a place, this longing to return to the land that fed my soul for so long, the wild that satisfied intensely. My mind and heart turn northward toward the Land of the Midnight Sun just as Sitka's Russian Orthodox church points to the heavens.
Clear skies in Alaska are brilliant blue. Just when my heart feels like it can swell no more from the sheer beauty of the clean, expansive sky a bald eagle welcomes me. I gasp and wimper in delight. He soars, he lingers, he dips, huge wings masterfully working air currents, white tail feathers twisting before my appreciative eyes. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
Tears stream down my cheeks all the way home as we jet south through Alaskan skies.
Home seems grungy - yes - and I live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, one of my country's garden paradises.
"I shall return, Alaska, to explore your vast, pristine loveliness with gentle, grateful steps."