Tectonic Shift

Living in Alaska was drastically different from living in East Tennessee. Living in such an extreme place, all senses are at high alert, and flight or fight mode is always activated.  Relaxation is difficult when the earth rumbles almost constantly and lightning, fire, and ash threatens to coat the earth.  Living near the Smoky Mountains, I was used to nature holding my hand and gently guiding me around, not shoving me in every direction, giving me vertigo in the process.  In Alaska, the mountain peaks are dizzying and unwelcoming, the oceans are cold and unforgiving. Everything is of course very beautiful, but there are so many prices to pay in exchange for the opportunity to live in its illustriousness.  I expected the environment to be unsettling, so I embraced the differences, but when Mt. Redoubt began to erupt right before Easter during my first few months living so far North, I quickly grew frightened, unsettled like the tectonic plates that never ceased shifting underfoot.  Rather than chastise myself, I embraced the change that started growing in me, the acknowledgement of my very human fear. On the rumbling earth, as ash flew and settled on the snow, I felt truly alive. This was living with every nerve ending. This was a constant evolution of reaction and feeling. Alaska is a state that changes hourly: the ground moves, the mountains rise, the glaciers recede. When Mt. Redoubt began its change from dormant to dramatic, I felt myself changing into something more human.

 

The 2009 eruption of Mt. Redoubt

 

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"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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