Tuesday, December 25, 2007

in a staring at the snow sort of mood

Coming back to Alaska ceased to be "coming home" a while ago, but it still holds the comfort and nostalgia of any long-awaited return. My parents' house naturally hasn't changed much (nor have they - a few more grey hairs, a bit closer to retirement) and swallowed me up as it always had. I spent a night in a house on a mountain, walked along the Knik Arm alone and around the greenbelt with my dad, played cribbage, read. The mellow mood - interspersed with grandparental invasions - has been pleasant, and I'm surprising myself with how sad I am to leave. (The Alaska ACLU is looking for an executive director. Obviously, I'm massively underqualified, but the idea of making my home into a more humane place does carry some martyric appeal. Not so much food for thought as a snack to scrutinize.)

I'm such a daddy's girl, and I'm not sure my dad totally catches that. That's okay. We did a little birdwatching on our walk and from our kitchen. The suet attracts any number of fiesty little songbirds, the names of which I've evidently always known.

Saw a snowshoe hare in the woods behind the University - the first I've ever seen in the city. Also, a grazing moose, which, to most Alaskans, is hardly worth mentioning, but it was the first I'd seen since 2004, I think. That's a long time, really.

Natalie loaned me a book, The Delicacy and Strength of Lace, that has renewed my reverence for writing. It is the collected correspondence between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright - two phenomenal American writers who wrote each other with such affection and profundity that I had trouble breathing at times. New Year's Resolution: write letters again. Lots of them. Even if no one replies.

One thing James Wright said that resonated deeply: "For man must realize that his capacity for love gives him no right to demand that anyone love him in return. Not anyone. Not even God. I have found that a hard thing to face, but there is something in it that goes beyond pain." I've been turning this over in my mind since I read it. The most difficult thing to do is to simply love, I think, free of obligation or fear or guilt or expectation. Hope of love in return is one thing, but the assumption that it will be reciprocated is an abuse of this amazing capacity (and that's truly the best word, rich with imagery) to/for/of love that we have and share.

Happy New Year. Please write in the coming year knowing that I am doing my damnedest to write back.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Not getting a few weeks of vacation at the end of every quarter is going to hurt. I'm already depressed about this. (Some post-trip let-down and illness doesn't really make that any better, but still.)

Alaska in 2 days.

Monday, December 17, 2007

welcome to Seattle, where the sun don't shine

My camera has officially bitten it. Five years is a long stretch for a digital camera, so while I'm sad to see it go, I'm not exactly shocked. So long Dinosaur Battleship! (Named for its age and durability by Trish, myself and most likely a beer or two.) It couldn't have picked a worse weekend to croak. Ample dog and girl photo ops in a pretty, pretty city. Seattle intimidates me less every time I go there. It's still massive and the lay of the land is still kind of a mystery (where the hell is Ravenna and why can't I seem to find it again?) Hitting up the Sound sucker-punched me - I know I always miss the ocean, but I didn't know I missed it so constantly and with such a bottom-of-my-stomach urgency. For all of Portland's charms, the lack of ocean and mountains (no, MOUNTAINS) really does set me into a lull.

So yes. I had a marvelous weekend. Cedar did too - causing a ruckus is one of her favorite activities.