Midnight Sun Blues

moose on anchorage trailThe best place to see wildlife in Alaska in on the multi-use trails around the city, particularly the coastal trail west of Earthquake Park. This moose was being harassed by some shutterbugs, and gave me a dirty look as he lumbered past. Claire let me know he was getting too close and I should move. She used the same, “Boooobbb!” she uses when I get too close to a cliff edge while taking pictures. She knows she’ll be left with dealing with the aftermath if my lack of caution leads to a bad end.

Barry and Joyce, friends of friends in Tucson, took us on a hike up Flat Top, the most hiked mountain in Alaska. We had spectacular views and good weather, meaning it didn’t rain on us, but as usual so far, no sun. The trail in some ways reminded me of the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park, but a little higher with no steps to ease the climb. Both have spectacular ocean and mountain views. On a clear day you can see Denali, but this summer clear days seem rare.Rain on a window with Alaska view

There is something about the light here this past week: soft and heavy and long nearly through the night; long and soft and ineffectual. I find it vaguely depressing, sometimes not so vaguely. An hour of blessed sunshine makes it worse, knowing it will go away and take the mountains and the spectral highlights, the sparkle, with it. The sun, slow to come, always going away, soon. I know I shouldn’t feel this way about the North. I feel guilty about, which doesn’t help any. All the beauty; moose, bears, lakes, mountains, and still snow patches and sometimes glaciers. But the light is just not there, just not right, yet.

There were days during the months we spent in Iceland, worse days, sleet and snow and biting wind, seemingly endless wind, forever wind. But. There wer days of impossibly blue skies and sparkling seas, and brightly painted houses and tall church spires against the blue. It was hopeful light.

The locals swing between apology, “It was beautiful two weeks ago.” to resigned, “if it’s not raining, it’s a good day.” I’m not buying it, yet. I’ve become addicted to sunshine, or at least light with power, light with hope.

I’m writing this in the little village of Hope, and there are patches of sun between rain showers. Hope. Nice name for a town in Alaska.

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