Sunday, August 9, 2020

All The Way to Safety

A glorious bridge crosses over the outflow of fresh and brackish water into the Bering Sea

This is the year of lemonade and loss, and of somehow reemerging in new states every month of the year. I was counting last week, and this year I've done 7 lifestyles thus far. And it's August. Now I'm in Nome, at the tail end of my week long quarantine to start a job at Norton Sound Hospital. 

The Bering Sea waterfront near Safety Sound

Yes, quarantine means being away from other human beings, and yes, I am a social being. So there is hardship. But even more, this week has been an opportunity to explore the outdoor world and grandeur of this terribly interesting place. Fortunately, Reed helped me pack my bike into a box, Alaska airlines let me bring it with me as one of my three allowed luggage items and the quarantine rules allow for long bike rides away from other humans. 

I went twenty miles out along the Nome-Council Highway. My hospital-provided housing has a hiding place under the entryway stairs, so I grabbed my bike, suited up and set out. What glory to be in a place with a road system, but that isn't connected to the main Alaska road system. The places that meet that description really are the best places to have a mountain bike with a front wheel suspension. 

Highway gravel tread and huge vistas along the Council Highway

I had two picnics, of foods that I brought along, stopped to pick blueberries in a marshy tundra section, and lay on the dry tundra adjacent to a lake, listening to ducks and geese belting out sounds that I hadn't heard before. There is much land to lie upon, many plants to smell and observe. This is the best lemonade of multiple job losses. How fortunate am I to be here! 

An unexpected and joyous find in rural Alaska

Last night I watched "The Prize Winner of Defiance." The mother in the film characterized so many of the qualities that my own mother embodies. I wrote the following email to my mom, after my tears had run their course.  

Hey Mom ~ 

Just got done watching this movie, entitled "The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio." 

The main character, played by Julianne Moore reminds me of you. Her cheery optimism, her focus on the now, on the enjoyment of the moment, in spite of the bigger picture of struggle. She fights so hard for her family. She perseveres in the midst of constant struggle and undermining by her husband. She is a realist and also a constant source of joy, perspective and uplift for her children. Those are all things that are true about you. We are fortunate to have you. 

Love, Kelley ~ 

And that is all I have to say on this Sunday evening, the night before I start my new job. 

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