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May 7, 2022: Here, There, and Everywhere

It amazes me how a person can be in one place early in the day, and then in a far different place later in the day. Air travel brings this to mind. My inability to wrap my mind around this is most likely why I have a fear of flying. I just don’t see how it is humanly possible in such a short amount of time to span great distances.

This morning I woke up in Utqiagvik, in Itinerant Housing. This evening I’m back at home in my own house.

It was a very full day. Itinerant Housing was an odd place, what with its long halls, and windowless rooms. I didn’t sleep well – I was bothered by the lack of windows in my very small room. I would get up at odd hours and open the door and see that it was light. The light, obscured by cloud cover, never seemed to change. The sky, day and night, was gun metal gray.

Pamalla, Jeff, and Thunder Bun

Chappie and I were picked up at 8:30 p.m. by Pamella, and from there we went to the Kiita Alternative School. We hung out there for a while – I set out more books for the long-awaited book fair. Chappie, a teacher named Cheryl, and I then took off and first checked out the Native Heritage Center workshop where locals were working on various projects, this including making ulus, the handles from whale bone.

We then drove to the end of the road hoping to see polar bears. We did not, to which I said that we’d have to come back for another visit.

Upon our return, we ate lunch – I ordered a Greek Salad and ended up with French fries.

The book fair started at 1:00 p.m. I had this sense of dread that no one would show – after all our hosts had done in terms of promotion, it would have been a letdown if no one appeared. But as if on cue, parents and children began streaming in the door. The following few hours were, for me, the same old same old – kids and parents taking books and putting them in bags. No one put a limit on the number of books, so they filled small canvas type bags that Pamella had located from someplace. At the same time, the weekly thrift store event was happening. Clothes and household goods are laid out for customers – cheap, durable stuff.

All total, forty individuals took books home with them. Once again, I was surprised by what went. I realized too, that I’d gotten attached to some of the books, which for weeks at a time had been on my kitchen table.

The visit ended too soon. Jeff the principal took us to the airport, and we got our boarding passes. We went back to the Kiita Learning Center and then returned to the airport. It was single line seating – we had to wait for some time to board.

A fairly smooth flight home – I was on the Mt. Foraker side of the plane, not the Denali side. I allowed myself to be properly awed by Mt. Foraker.

Pete met up with me at the Meeting House. Here, there is green grass on the ground. And the smell of cottonwoods is again in the air.

Next: 126. 5/8/22: Home again, home again

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