I'd been thinking about writing about the clammer that works the low-tide flats just outside the front yard. I sit in my bathrobe, the sun rising gently, with a cup of coffee and wonder what my body would feel like if I had to do his job. Bending over repeatedly, sinking my clam rake into the mud and back, then picking through the cold silt looking for my livelihood while the gulls circled overhead.
I changed my mind on November 30 when I learned of my Alaskan friends who spent their morning quivering and rolling during a 7.0 earthquake. It would still have been dark then. Kids were in school, people were on their way to work, and then their world changed.
I tuned into the Alaska news and remembered my experiences with earthquakes. Feeling the roll build gently under your being, or sitting at my desk on the fifth floor and watching the computer screen rock back and forth. In the seconds of any quake, you wonder if this was going to be a big one. You remember the idea of a go-bag that never manifested. As the shaking subsided, my heart rate returned to normal and the awe of being in touch with nature returned.
While I am growing to love the old granite mountains and the coast of Maine, I miss being so close to the edge in Alaska. I miss the moose in the front yard, the silty ice bits in Cook Inlet on a sunny winter day and the aplenglow view of Denali from downtown. The raw evolution of earth itself is present every time one went out to the rivers, the mountains, the sea and the neighborhood.
I also miss the tough, goddammit I'm an Alaskan mentality that separates the extreme northerners from the rest of the "Lower 48." Once the fractured glass had been swept up and everyone was deemed safe, Alaskans created memes.