I am Not Considered a Local

Reading and writing are considered wintertime activities. In summer, the sunlight blasts life into the hills and valleys in 18 hour concentrations, filling out all the scraggly branches with green. Wildflowers pop out of the earth like slow motion fireworks. The growing season is short. Broccoli bursts into flower. Kale does okay. Everyone has a garden or a temperature modulated greenhouse and everyone has varying success. There are awards given to the best legumes at State Fair. Produce is expensive here and comes once a week on a barge from Seattle and from somewhere else before Seattle. Bananas are browning on arrival. Avocados quite ready. So on.

Everything comes alive quick and ready in the summer. The sun is here. The sun is flooding this place with light. This is not the time for thoughtful leisure, they say. This is the time to hike and slide and jump and play and boat and fish and fill the freezer with things to eat in the dark months, the months we won’t yet mention. No one who lived here in the winter spends these sunny days reading or writing music. They are out, social, impelled by the peripheries of those forever looming dark days (haunting their mortgage) to go out and act like the foliage in these violent, swift seasons of growth.

Bonfires with homemade instruments. Shuttle buses for bushwhacking hikes up unnamed peaks. Ferry rides around the corner into the misty fjords. Biking to Canada. Watching bears behave as unpredictably as wind on the water’s surface. Big shaggy things. Alarmingly huge, even from a distance. I don’t want us to frighten each other on the trail, bear. I don’t want our heartrates to peak at the same time. I want what you want and I want to live. You are a good analogy to the natural rhythm of the people in tune with these seasons. Hibernate, binge, etc. I’ll admit I’ve never taken more naps in my life than while up here. Some somnolent daze keeps me out of more youthful energies I’ve known. Can no longer be so reckless, says the future. You are approaching 30 faster than you thought possible. I don’t know why I’m so sleepy still in this Alaskan summer. Some part of the mind is stuck idling on something nonessential, burning up energies without me taking a conscious part of this fuel transfer. What is it I am so fixated on to keep me inside?

Summer works as a boost of adrenaline only for those who know winter. It is beautiful. Snow covers everything. No tourists other than heli-skiers. You must snowshoe or ski or snowplow to work or to the bbq. Huddled over a cup of tea with the frozen whipping wind outside. This is the time to write and to read. Going on into the snowy dark to chop more kindling for a fire in the rattling cabin. A guitar near the fire. You are looking deeply into your only soul and you see it multiply and you are terrified. The winter reverses the summer light with darkness. Nearly 5 hours of sun in the dead of winter, but much less depending on the angle of the Chilkat mts. from your home. The dark is what people are most afraid of during this time. Dark night of the soul. The northern lights streak across the brightest constellations as green smoke. You wait in your cabin with your books.

“Do you live here?” a guest will ask.
“Yeah, for now.”
“Oh so where do you spend winter?”
“Not sure yet. I have not arranged an exit strategy.”

a tornado moving away from you

9:09 – 9:27

Felt strong enough this morning to throw my car overhead into Lake Union, spinning it like a lasso and releasing like an arrow. Watching it rock-skip across and then never sink. I’ve read eating hamburgers is worse for the environment than driving a car, even a leaky, groaning, old Ford Focus. So choose your battles. Watch the others fight and die other issues you are vaguely attached to. Why yes I have a dishwasher. (Or me.) No, of course I wash my dishes by hand. The warm water only comes out at two settings and one setting is not-at-all. Other is niagara and extreme wasteful. Then the clickery heating ducts that tap tap tap on my ears like an ice pick exploring for cranial cables to severe to make me more docile. No no doctor. Give me the surgery that severs my docility.

A stress fracture, or fractured stress, something compartmentalized into different bodies of pain contained within me like sleeping viruses. So I’m anxious because my life is changing rapidly for the better. There is travel momentum on my side.

Brief side story. One week ago today we met up with Kiel in Arcata, California after a terrifying night of cloudy, icy, night-flying over the blackening coast. He droves for free to the airport, gave us a smooch, and off we went. Velocity in tow, our bags full of velocity, our eyes in all directions, our speed our adrenaline, our veins pumping it through the innercity work of organs interacting. Let chemical washes flow. From Arcata we flew down the coast nearly to Oakland before cutting inland, aimed at Bakersfield. Along the rocky coast I saw a pod of whales, I believe to be a pod of California Gray Whales embarking on their great northern migration. We flew at 2,000 feet over them and waved and they steamengined water out of their blow holes for sheer joy of it. They breathe oxygen and are warmblooded. So many swirling blowholing shapes down their among the rocky outcrops and little buried islands, the little buried islands that wreck schooners.

So many other details. A little flight sick for me over the cattle farms and wheat fields a bit inland. After seeing the model villages of Napa Valley. Then over the ass end of the Sierra Nevadas over wind farms and a valley spreading in all directions at sunset. Then following highway 12 up into the city because a visual reference is worth erasing flight plans for. Otherwise vague mountainous hills as we are told to descend via tower and probably terrain alert right into them with a speed of 140 mph, basically just a really fast car all the way down through the air of cold Tacoma to the Gulf of Mexico, the heat and humidity and elevation loss and gain and so many little houses down dirt roads with cars driving on them .