I keep thinking about Alaska. Down here, we’re still green with moss and a bit of stubborn heat. Up there, the leaves are already gold and red, the temperature has already cooled, sweaters and tights are being worn daily. I’m sure our coffee shop is filled with kids just out of school for the day, huddled in tight groups, drinking hot chocolate and helping each other study.
I’m sure the termination dust is creeping down the mountains. I’m sure chimney smoke is starting to curl through the air at night, and I’m sure the bears are pushing away dirt, twigs, and brush, trying to make the most perfect, most cozy den. Soon they’ll settle down, cease their desperate hunt for food, turn the earth down like a quilt, and rest.
I realize that in my memory Alaska is a little bit like the amnesia after childbirth. I’m forgetting the painful parts, and only remembering the beautiful, brand-new things. I tend to forget that everything from gas to groceries to health care was often beyond our reach (though we were making more money than ever). I tend to forget that sometimes the people could be cruel to one another, that the weather could be deadly, that sometimes the animals didn’t get enough to eat and became ferocious. I tend to forget that even my own soul turned carnivorous. That I forgot who I was sometimes and where I came from. That I was so depressed so far away that even the golden white birch forests couldn’t hold my attention for long.
Alaska showed me all she could. I still demanded more from her.
But, ah…today? Today let me just remember September in Alaska. Let me remember roasted marshmallows and campfires and rustling leaves. Let me remember the gorgeous disintegration of emerald to rust.
(It’s a slideshow…)