Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Grayling Daily News

This morning, as I was writing a letter home, word came over the radio that a loose boat was floating down the Yukon. Almost at once, the energy around me shifted as people rose to the occasion and decided who was going to do the rescue operation. Rising water has caused all number of inconveniences to both the beach and the boats moored on it.

About a half an hour later, as I was on my morning walk, I saw Tom’s boat bringing in the errant craft. When they got it ashore, however, no one knew to whom it belonged. It might have floated all the way down from Eagle Island, sixty miles upriver.

Towing the Boat

In other village news, a twin engine Navajo plane carrying my co-leader for children’s programs was forced to crash land in Aniak yesterday shortly after takeoff when one of its engines failed. The pilot was cool and competent, bringing it down on a sandbar in less than a foot of water. All eight passengers, three of whom I knew, sustained only minor injuries. It made the evening news.

Also heard today: The Tenana Chiefs’ Association approved plans for cell phone service to be brought to the four neighboring villages of Grayling, Anvik, Shageluk and Holy Cross.

I was awakened early by sunlight streaming through the window. Morning temps were only in the thirties, but rose into the sixties as morning turned into afternoon. We took the children down to the river for a swim and a weenie roast, and I helped deliver meals to the elders.

Swimming Weather

I discovered why I avoided mosquito bites during my first two weeks and have succumbed so badly now. Turns out the worst little biters are not mosquitoes at all, but gnats. These tiny creatures inflict large welts. Vitamin B doesn’t seem to do a thing against them.

On our evening walk, we saw another boat tied up out of place. We also saw fresh bear tracks. If one is to believe the science program Nova, the process of global warming is speeding up far faster than anyone dreamed. Chelsea and Cindy asked what we were going to do. I think it may be hard to understand natural processes when most of us live so far away from them.

These late Alaska nights have gotten to this poor old Californian at last, so I’m going to make it an early night. Peace be with you all. I’ll be with you a week from today.

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