I often feel homesick for my little hometown in Alaska, especially when my email contains pictures like this one taken by Dave Sexton, a friend of my Sister and Brother in law, of the sun rising on Mt. Harding in Skagway. Every morning for 20 years or so, I woke up to the sight of this glorious mountain and the others that surround this beautiful valley.
I pull out the Robert Service and read:
"The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I've bade 'em good-by - but I can't.
There's a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody recons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land - oh, it becons and becons,
And I want to go back - and I will."
A tear forms at the corner of my eye as I long for what will always be my heart's home.
On the other hand, sometimes my inbox contains missives that include things like this weather forecast for April 6 and beyond:
Today: Snow. Snow accumulation 2 to 4 inches. Highs in the 30s. Variable wind 10 mph.
Tonight: Snow. Snow accumulation 3 to 6 inches. Lows 15 to 20. Variable wind to 10 mph.
Sunday: Snow likely in the morning...then a chance of snow in the afternoon. Snow accumulation up to 2 inches. Highs around 30. Light winds.
Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Lows 15 to 20. Light winds.
Monday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Highs in the mid 20s to lower 30s. Light winds.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Lows in the teens.
Tuesday Through Friday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Highs 25 to 35. Lows 5 to 15.
And images like these taken just a few days ago sent by my niece:
While I'm looking out my window at this:
I see the koi in the pond becomming more active, the camellia petals falling over everything and the magnolia beginning to bloom, the spring green of new leaves on trees and I'm happy in this soggy and mild place where I find myself.
Interestingly, I live in a house in Tacoma that was previously owned by the family of one of two brothers who started a jewelry store in my home town shortly after the gold rush of 1898. One brother remained in Skagway while the other came to Tacoma to live. The store, Richter's, is still in business in Skagway. Before the Richter Family, the house was owned by Judge Frank Allyn. A man named Wickersham, a friend of the Judge, named the town of Allyn after him before Wickersham left Washington to live in Juneau, Alaska just 110 miles south of Skagway where the Wickersham house is now a museum. Nearly a hundred years ago, Judge Allyn's wife was instrumental in starting the Orpheus Male Chorus, a group that I directed for several years. It's interesting how This house, Tacoma, and Alaska are linked. A panoramic image of Skagway in the early days, the typed manuscript of a book about the gold rush, and various Alaskan souvenirs were among the treasures left in the house for me to find. Maybe it was meant to be. It's comforting to know that I'm not the first homesick Alaskan to live here where the miraculous charms of spring thrill the senses so early in the year.