I have just recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Alaska with my husband. (And what a trip!) We were both in such awe of this mammoth, majestic, magnificent wilderness that it literally left us speechless.
But it wasn’t until after I had observed the beauty and the people
of this vast land that I arrived at this conclusion: Life is not as complicated as we have made it here in the “lower” U.S. There are simple pleasures to be had by helping our fellow human or showing a genuine kindess without greed, without material possessions, without rudeness, without hate, without discrimination, without jealousy,
Here is the blog I posted July 6, 2010, 9:31 p.m. on Facebook before becoming enlightened:
4th of July is a Big Deal here in Alaska. Everyone we met said: What’re you doing for the 4th? . . . Are you going to the festivities? . . . Fireworks at midnight!! . . . We’re eating at the vendors’ booths, how about you? . . . Happy Holidays! . . . Have a Happy 4th of July! . . . Make sure you get parking today. . . Houses were outfitted with red, white, and blue–and I mean over-the-top decorations and not only the houses. People had flags tucked into their caps, wore red, white & blue, had flags in their car grills too. RVs came from all over Alaska as did campers who lined the roads and littered the forests with their colorful pup tents. There was a marathon race up a mountain–yes, up a steep mountain, a Mud Butt Race (we didn’t get to stick around for this), the usual parade and lots of other activities. Yes, 4th of July is a Big Deal in Alaska.
We opted, though, to traverse a trail up to Exit Glacier
which has retreated (how much is natural global warming and how much is from”us”) immensely since discovered in 1815, which is why there is now a trail leading to it. There were people from all over the world traversing the trails leading to the glacier and you can hear the different languages as they pass. There is definitely a difference in temperatures as you approach the glacier which you could also climb with pitons if you chose to. I did not! Bear and moose also traverse this park, Chugach National Forest, which is 500 million acres but we only saw scat left from a moose. I’m still waiting for a bear and moose sighting!
The drive to Anchorage is beautiful–plenty of meadows with wildflowers. Gene slept most of the time, and when an eagle flew 20 feet from the car with sea gulls chasing after it, I wanted to wake him so that he could see it. But he was sound asleep, his mouth forming a perfect “O” as he released all the new-jersey toxins from his body. There was a lot of traffic today because of The Holiday–like Gene and me, we all came to look for America.
Lunch: beer battered Halibut chunks with dill tartar sauce.
After having written this blog, I realized that my initial reaction of the Alaskans’ seemingly overly zealous, overly patriotic behavior in how they celebrate the Fourth of July was an incorrect and unfair observation. Instead, after re-reading the blog several times, I came to realize that that was the celebratory enthusiasm I experienced as a child. Almost lost, almost forgotten until Alaska.
This photoblog, The Incredible Lightness of Seeing, will serve to allow me to “see” things in a different light, to really see things clearly and with understanding through my photos and through my words. I want to celebrate life just the way the Alaskans celebrate the Fourth of July.