Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Field Notes

“If you kill a spider, it will rain,” said Ashley at lunch, after she had merrily whacked one with her cup. Her little sister is afraid of spiders, which shows that even if you live amidst the splendors of nature, you don’t have to like all the wildlife. Bears are still around and I might have heard a wolf this morning, but it might have been the boys. The girls told me about another really unpleasant bug called a moose fly that comes out when it gets hot. It’s big and black and it bites. Fortunately, the weather has remained pleasantly cool, in the low to mid sixties so the moose flies fly elsewhere. In keeping with the old saying, we’ve even had some rain. I attach some cloud shots.

Lots of us were moving slowly today. I’m beginning to feel all the walking I’ve done. I haven’t gotten to bed once before eleven thirty, although I plan to make an exception tonight. I miss having a couch to stretch out on at the end of the afternoon and someone with whom to share a soda. I even miss the TV. I was quite riveted by it when I visited Shirley last Friday. All the supermodels look different when no one around you is trying look like one.

There’s a lot of coming and going between Grayling and Anchorage. The air was literally abuzz. I counted three planes today. Out by the airport, one boy was showing off his flint firestarter (cool) and two young moms were fishing in the creek. Some of the kids I’ve met call Anchorage home, but come out to the village for the summer to help their grandparents and to get in touch with their roots. It’s hard to put down roots in a city. I know. I’ve tried. Connections and culture, yes, but not roots. For that you need less pavement.

According to this morning’s Anchorage Daily News, housing prices have dropped precipitously in urban Alaska. A mortgage crisis and a fuel crisis are not a good combination when winter lasts seven months. I wondered, the last time I was here, if the north could sustain a California housing economy. Fortunately, there are no McMansions here. Houses in Graying tend to be small, with open floorplans that are easy to heat. They run the gamut between the simple and the elegant, but all that I’ve been in exude comfort.

I made a pastoral call this morning to pray over a man who, in the words of his brother in law, is real bad. After I saw him, I suggested we come back in the evening with communion. As we shared the bread and wine, I saw him sit up in his bed and smile, and my friends, there are few moments in life more blessed than that.

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