Alaska is a different way of being in the world. I sometimes feel like I've fallen over that mythic edge when I come here. Until recently, being off the grid was a built in - and much beloved - part of the experience of being in Alaska. But cell phone coverage has improved, and this year I bought an iPhone. So to my bewilderment, that other world is now at my doorstep, even in this final sanctuary.
This summer has been a really wet one. The local meteorologist explained that the jet stream is pointed right at Southeast Alaska this summer, so wetness may be the name of the game this season. It's impossible for me not to think "climate change" when the weather heads toward the boundaries of the expected, though who knows? I suspect the changing climate is "juicing" the wetness here, just as it is juicing the extreme heat over most of the rest of America.
I've also noticed that the rainbows are unusually brilliant this year, in those moments when the "sucker holes" - those odd patches of blue that occasionally let in some sun, place the sunlight and the rain in a single blender. At the prompting of my friend Christian Swenson, who was visiting last week, I decided to taste one of them, and it was not all that bad. Eating rainbows is one of the treats I may be offering my clients this summer on my Inside Passages kayaking retreats.
I came up several weeks early to get all the systems running at the lodge, and also to do some improvements before my guests arrive. My son Alex joined me this week to help with projects, like building a trail into the old growth forest behind the lodge.My first group arrives in less than a week - a group of Jewish environmental activists sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality - a long time partner on these trips. I'll be joined on the leadership team by Rabbis Sheila Weinberg and Lisa Goldstein, and a remarkable group of leaders who are willing to dive deep into both wilderness exploration and contemplative silence, to see what lessons they may offer to the activist calling. I'm looking forward to getting started.
How many people, in the course of a single week, get to be a carpenter, plumber, and wilderness guide, while also teaching meditation and yoga in the wilderness? It's good work if you can get it.
It's a bit of a controlled frenzy at times, and I still don't have internet coverage for my computer at the lodge (thank God), so I will not be adding many posts in the coming weeks. Hope this finds you all well.