The Observation

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.

41 thoughts on “The Observation

  1. I nominated you for a ‘Very Inspirational Blogger’ award. Why? Because I love your photos. You have an eye for things I can’t even begin to understand. (You’ll need to check out my blog to see how it all works.)

  2. It’s been a dream of mine, since young adulthood, to see Alaska. I’m closer now than ever before, living in the PNW just 20 miles south of the Oregon border. Perhaps I should take my own advice and become determined to go.
    I appreciate your way of seeing, and look forward to more of your thoughts and observations.
    You are correct – we complicate everything here in the lower 48, greed, avarice and complacency abounds.
    If you haven’t, please have a peek at my category “The Natural World.” I think you’d appreciate this unique place on earth, as well. Thank you for finding me.

  3. Hi,

    I nominated you for two blog awards, The Versatile Blogger and the Kreative Blogger. As part of the nomination process you are asked to:
    1. Write a post mentioning the person who nominated you.
    2. Display the images of the awards – which you can get off my site or I can email to you.
    3. Share 7 fun or interesting facts about yourself.
    4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for the award.

    You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. I had fun doing mine but it does take some time.

    Glad you enjoyed Alaska

    Nicole

  4. I gathered from one of your posts that you are a teacher? But also a student, it seems. I like your blog, petalpusher! I can’t stay long now, but I’ll come back. Thank you for visiting me again.

  5. Oh…your pictures are so wonderful. I can’t imagine Alaska to look so beautiful…It appears to be so cold.
    I love your observations and the thoughts through your writing.
    I suffered a bit of writer’s block as I am under some pressure. Your posts are very relaxing and lovely.
    Thank you for letting me visit.

    Jaye

  6. Hello,
    I just have to say I love the title of your blog. Very clever play on the title of Milan Kundera’s book.

    “I want to celebrate life just the way the Alaskans celebrate the Fourth of July.”
    I couldn’t agree more with you here, or what you said about life being unnecessarily complicated.

    Last summer I had the fortune to spend four months in the Wrangell St Elias Park, near the Chugach area you visited. It was an incredible summer that I’ll never forget.

    One of the greatest things I walked away with was the experience of Community. I had always understood the concept, but had never experienced it until spending time in McCarthy, Alaska.

  7. After visiting Alaska a few summers ago…and then moving here because we loved it so much, I can say that my experience is that Alaskans live in a time ago. That is said with as much positive as I can emphasize. People still pull over to help you if you are stuck on the side of the road. People still take time to talk to you. People are interested in other people. People care about other people. I LOVE that about Alaska. It’s a place that is not so self absorbed and busy. I’m glad you got the chance to experience part of it.

  8. ah, i really like this….thank you for sharing your observations. such an important perspective, realizing the true satisfaction in simplicity, community, open heartedness. we all seem to be searching for it, and yet can’t seem to create it in our own cities. makes me want to move to alaska!

    your captures are also very beautiful, i look forward to seeing more from you.

    • Marygood–We HAVE lost our sense of community in this country. It saddens me . . . Perhaps Alaska is so far removed from the mainstream of everyday living–and that’s not a bad thing!
      Thanks for the kind words!

  9. Pingback: 2010 in review | The Incredible Lightness of Seeing

  10. Again I am awe of these photos, when we spoke on Saturday and you told me you were out taking photos early, I didnt realize it was that early. Beautiful, just beautiful,all of them are, I think it’s time for you to look into a gallery showing or a book for the future…….Chris

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