Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Termination Dust

The thought hit me on the upside of the head  while I was wiping the dust off the dashboard.  I was preparing to end this stage of my life.  Perhaps in the way that Tim and Ben anointed Chena in lemon oil after she’d passed.   Yesterday, on a beautiful clear fall day, I hiked up as fast as I could through the newly fallen snow at Arctic Valley.  Saying good bye to the wild places that sustain all of us odd, frozen characters. 

Part of the need for the hard walk uphill was to clear the head out.  There’s so much swirling around
A whole hearted enthusiastic thump on the shoulder for a job well done, a profound and spiritual resolution for the journey ahead,  a wisp of regret,  the  stunning shock of  the lingering beauty of this long autumn, basking in the wonder about  synchronicity, gratitude for having plenty of bridges that have not been burned.   For all the sadness involved in leaving behind, there is also tremendous gratitude for the strength and gifts I’ve received from the people and places in Alaska.

I will never forgot the Kenai caribou on the top of knuckle mountain  that told me I would venture  to the Arctic.    The steady gaze of the wolf reminded me that it is always better to bear witness without any devices.   The floating eagle feather I found in Katchemak bay (likeingly never touched the earth) on the first summer I committed to stay the winter here.  The reminder from the startled sea lions that came while kayaking in encroaching darkness that it is always better to leave early.  The path of the bear in the Wrangell Mountains  that showed  me  the way on this journey of creative living.

  I know I can always return to this wild space and tremendous network of colleagues and  friends,  lovers and crush recipients, and people I have pissed off over the years.  There have been a myriad of jobs under my belt, traverses across all physical and emotional landscapes, and a heart and spirit that is both fulfilled and yearning at the same time.   Alaska, I will miss everything except the deep stupor and the urban warrior trucks with the halogen headlights in my rear view mirror in the cold dark time.

As I leave now,  I’m moving  into  the liminal state, the adjectival adaptation of the Latin word for threshold.   The hyperbaric chamber of my family in Maine awaits, the transition zone where I will begin the process of settling into my middle aged vagabond self.    The beauty of this next step is the fact that I don’t have a predetermined outcome.  I am trying not to make pronouncements about when, why or if I will return.  I am leaving, with the wistful nostalgia, upwelling emotions and armed with  Alaskan spirits—human, animal, vegetable and mineral—who have shown me that simultaneously being prepared and spontaneous are wonderful adaptation mechanisms. Friends, please know that  your wishes, dreams, protections, and tidings are packed along.      Fare thee well, my beloved land.

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