Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home Again

It has been a couple of days now since we returned from Alaska, a bit of time in which to reflect.

While we were away the Republicans have come and gone, the protesters have mostly settled back into their daily routine, the air has turned crisp and cold, and the goldenrod overtaking my garden has burst into bloom – as have the orchids summering outside the back door. Fall has arrived.

The city seems peaceful and calm. . . life slowly settling in for the coming winter.

That seems unexpected somehow, but perhaps it is as it should be after a long uncertain summer and the chaos of last week’s convention.

I’m glad we were gone, far from the reality of police in full riot gear flooding the streets of my little town. The surreal images from the news remain pictures of a place I do not know. A place I do not want to know.

On the other hand, Alaska proved a surprisingly poor escape. Who would have guessed we’d have politics thrust on us as it was? While I had made a brief acquaintance with Governor Palin early in our trip (through newspaper reports on one of those minor scandals that so often seem to linger in the background of Alaskan politics), suddenly she was everywhere. There was no escape. Love her or hate her, she was the focus of everyone’s attention.

However, Republican or Democrat, people were genuinely friendly and helpful. While I imagined Alaska as a land of rugged individualists with their backs turned to the world, everyone seemed to relish the opportunity to interact with others. People were always eager to converse, if not about Sarah, then about the weather, home and family, art, and life, making it far more difficult to end a conversation than begin one.

And then there is the landscape. In every place it is amazing – vast, dramatic, beautiful, and continually changing. I shot almost 6000 pictures without ever coming close to capturing its many moods and faces. I don’t think I could ever tire of it.

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