I flew into Sitka the evening of March 29. As we landed, I peered out my window to see a whale blow in the ocean. What a sight. Now you don’t get that kind of welcome just anywhere. As you will see from the picture, I wasn’t fast enough to get catch him but I assure you he is there. It was a grand welcoming for the start of my 3-month stay here.
Ranger Anne was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and transport me to housing. With two suitcases (each weighing close to 50 lbs.), she grabbed one and never complained. We drove to housing to unload the suitcases before heading to the park for a special art exhibit.
There are deer tracks in the snow (yes, there is still snow!) and I’ve been told the bears are waking up now and are hungry. Hmmmm – guess I best get that bear training class under my belt real soon.
After dropping off luggage, Anne and I went straight for the art show at the National Park Visitor Center. Seven artists demonstrated their work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Cession.
The artist, Lisa Link, came by the Visitor Center on Thursday. She did the WordWrap 2017 art. She lives in Boston and has a daughter who is in her first year of college at George Mason University, which is less than 10 minutes from my home. She was worried about her being so far away from family. I was pleased to offer her a solution to this problem as we exchanged information. I am in hopes her daughter, Olivia, will connect with us soon. What a small world it really is when you make connections like this.
Walking home from the Visitor Center that first night felt good. I was fully welcomed and happy to be back here again on this peaceful island. Walking in the cold night air brought back many memories of times past and warmed my heart.
After unpacking I settled into my new room. My daughter, Melissa, made me pillow cases to remind me of home, the kiddos, and, of course, Gus. They are a wonderful reminder of how much I am loved. I must remember never to take these gestures of love for granted. Friends and families are so important to us.
Thursday morning I was up early and set out for my morning walk to the Visitor Center. We are still in the off season here so visitors are a little scarce. However, they still average 10-50 per day. After a couple hours getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting new folks coming in for the current season, I was again greeted by whales who have found a home in the channel just outside the center. I meant to ask what kind of whales they are but was so mesmerized by them being there that I didn’t even ask. Glimpses of them came and went quickly as their tales came out of the water just slightly and their breath was visible as they “blew” from their blow holes. Makes me think back to when Melissa and the kids came to visit me here two years ago and Dave Lubins took us for a sea adventure. He anchored us so close to the whales we not only saw them but we felt and SMELLED their breath as well. Awesome Memories!!!
The water remains as awe inspiring and daunting as always. I know I have some reflection and healing to do and this is just the perfect place. I sat in the cold this afternoon watching the water and boats and just felt the peace of it wash over me.
And so it begins, another adventure here in Sitka, Alaska. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to see and experience this beautiful Alaskan land.
I’ll be working this week at the Visitor Center and getting more acquainted with interns and staff. My current roommates are short-timers who will be leaving in the next couple weeks. I’ll get some pictures this week and tell you more about them in my next blog.
Till then, have a great week, enjoy the beauty of this land wherever you are and don’t waste good worry.