No matter where I’ve lived in my adult life—including a few “iffey” spots in my younger days—I’ve always loved coming home. From a trip, or just from a day at work. Being greeted by dogs who are happy to see me, sitting in my comfortable chair with a hot or a cold beverage depending on the weather, sleeping in my own bed if I’ve been away overnight, I just love coming home. No where has that been more true than since my home has been in
Trips to the lower 48 are a huge culture shock to me. I wrote about it last year after my trip to
There is so little wilderness anywhere. Even driving through the countryside, the land is fenced, tilled, cultivated. Roads are paved, lawns are manicured, everything is just so. The evidence of human occupation is practically inescapable, and that is what feels so different from
Here we have pockets of civilization amid a gazillion miles of untouched wilderness. Here I don’t feel constantly squeezed by the joint pressures of population and consumer culture. Life down there feels to me like living in a pressure cooker. If you’ve never known anything else, then it seems normal, but the longer you’re away from it, the harder it is to go back into it.
And then there is the climate. It was 97 degrees with moderate humidity in
Arriving home in
The hospital’s incredibly hectic pace throughout the winter has started to slow a bit as people move out of town to go to their fish camps for a month to cut, dry and smoke the salmon that will sustain them through the coming winter. We generally get a breather for late June and early July, as the daily census in the outpatient clinics drops by nearly half. After the intensity of the past winter, the slow-down is sorely needed by the staff, and gladly welcomed.
So as always, it is good to be home, and even more than I previously remember. For the last three evenings I have sat on my front deck at midnight, watching the sun keep his date with the horizon, filling my eyes and gladdening my heart with the wide sweeping view of tundra that rolls out endlessly to meet it. I love