I called the front desk last night to schedule a taxi for this morning to the airport. She called back a few minutes later and said, “They need you to call them in the morning at 7:30 to remind them. Sometimes they lose the little pieces of paper.” Ok. Called at 7:30 to confirm, and he said, “Room 31? That what I’ve got wrote down right here.” Good to go.
It had started to rain in Homer when I left. Appropriate somehow, the first rain since my arrival. We flew out of Homer in a little twin-prop Beechcraft piloted by an impossibly young blonde who looked like she would be more at home in southern California than Alaska. But she got us to Anchorage just fine, and here I sit with an hour layover before catching the next plane, to Portland.
They don’t have TSA security on interstate flights here. Too many small airports I guess. One of the agents in Homer said,” Who’d swipe one of our planes? They’re too small to go anywhere but somewhere else in Alaska. Except maybe Russia.” Comforting.
So I’m going to go outside and inhale a little more of this state before going through security, leaving Alaska…
It occurs to me as I find my way home that there is a different way of relating, in Alaska, and in places like Alaska. There is a different relationship to things, a different kind of connection that is part of life. It seems easy to lose touch with in suburbia, so something draws us to places like that, and I cannot help but wonder if what draws us is an inner awareness, a longing even, still, small, but insistent, to remember these things.
They heat because they borrow their heat from the land. They grow their food, and even in the catching and hunting there is a stewardship that is inherent. They are fiercely protective of the land and sea, and if that is not a trait of love I don’t know what is. People take care of that which takes care of them. And they are the same way with each other as they are with the land. Every action, choice, deed has an effect in a very real way, instead of just an ambiguous, theoretical one. They live intentionally. It’s practical consciousness. There is a conscious awareness of interconnectedness and interrelationship even while it’s part of the day to day. And it invokes a depth of meaning, a reverence, even among those claiming atheism. Just ask them about their bay, their mountains, and their woods.
It’s not religious, but it is profoundly sacred. Maybe it’s because they don’t take things for granted. Maybe it’s because they share the harshness, as well as the beauty. Maybe it’s because they’re connected, interconnected, to life, to themselves, to each other and to the planet, in a very real way, every day, and know it.
Whatever it is, there is something in places like that that calls to me. Not so still or so small, but very insistent, whispering, “remember… remember… I am that… I am… “
So I’m writing it down, right here on this piece of paper. But sometimes I lose track of them, these reminders. You might have to remind me now and then. Just in case.