Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I think of Skagway as Alaska's Disneyland because of its carefully designed turn-of-the-century look and feel. However, unlike Disneyland, there is a real history there that can be accessed just by noticing the old buildings like this one that belonged to "Soapy" Smith, the main villain of Skagway. The history that is preserved there by the residents and the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park Service is the story of the few short years when Skagway was the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada. Then, greed and lust and violence were the norm for thousands as they landed in Skagway. Dance hall girls, confidence men, gamblers, and criminals of all kinds competed to separate the would be miners from their money before they headed for the gold fields on narrow trails carrying a ton of supplies. But not long after that short burst of what can happen when people are blinded, Skagway became a town of gardens and schools and churches and snug houses. And it still is. The light overcame the darkness in a few years. And that really gives me hope for the world.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
A visit from a bear is both wondrous and annoying. One came by early this morning and got into our "bear-proof" garbage shed, pulled out two containers full of garbage in white kitchen bags, picked one out and dragged it away. Bears like to eat in what they consider a quiet little bistro, a place with lots of brush and shrubs where they can't be seen. Today is the day that garbage is picked up and the bears know it.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The light fools everybody in the summer. At 10:30 last night, I could have read a book by the window. In places south of Alaska, light and darkness are more predictable, and don’t change as much and in summer, light has to be artificially adjusted with Daylight Savings Time. Not here. The speed of light increasing (and then decreasing) is breathtaking. I think it also messes with our heads and our bodies in all kinds of ways. Even people who have lived in Alaska for a long time have trouble sleeping when the light seeps in at 3 or 4 in the morning. That is usually when I put on my eye mask even though we have good shades AND a dark curtain around our bed alcove. Amazingly, the light in the very early morning doesn’t bother some people, but for most of us, it definitely has a wakey wakey affect.
We have no idea how these rapid shifts in light really affect us. Our bodies have to make adjustments every day as the light decreases or increases. It is NEVER THE SAME. I met somebody today who said he was pissed off all of the time as it got lighter and lighter and then had one of those forehead slapping moments – that what he was experiencing was sleep deprivation – because when you don’t get enough sleep, you do get pissed off. And if you don’t shield yourself from light, you won’t get enough sleep in the summer in Alaska. It doesn’t help that the light gives you energy and you think you don’t need as much sleep as usual. You do. You just think you don’t. And you think you don’t because your judgment is compromised by the, dare I say it, overabundance of light.