Saturday, June 20, 2009

going big: now.

Things have been moving along faster than I could have imagined here in Cooper Landing. Had a weekend off in Seward with my friend Trina and hiked up to the Harding Ice field that leads on to Exit Glacier. Glorious day, hitched back into town for burgers and a beer, crashed out by 10pm in my tent right on the water. We were awoken by a cacophony of magpies and ravens, though a noise I would far prefer to hear over the neighbors yelling about getting their guns. After a morning of seeing downtown, hitching home was painless and even made a friend or two.

Led my first hike today. I am utterly, totally, and whole-heartedly, in love with my job. I picked up a couple coming out of our back country lodge and after the usual get to know you chat, we sunk our teeth into an afternoon hike. The local flora and fauna aren't as daunting as they were a month ago. Saxifrage no longer looks like star flower to me and lichens are fascinating to no end. The people were, I feel, genuinely impressed with this company as a whole and seemed to have a good time, especially when we saw three bears on a back road. The best thing is I get to be excited about Alaska every single time I hike someone, shuttle people, or just have small talk on the deck. Seeing the world through their eyes, not to mention my own not-yet-jaded eyes has kept me in the highest spirits possible. Days are long but we'll sleep when we're dead.

Got an email today from a Peace Corps friend. It was a journal entry from a fellow volunteer who passed out of this world March 12. Day to day life over there is what we all write about. It's what is so different at first and what becomes so familiar it hurts to deviate. Reading about lunching with friends, spitting out local words and hauling water feel good. They feel comfortable and Kate's writing was so eloquent I was immediately back in my village. I miss it and just can not quantify that emotion. Trying to tie all these extraordinary experiences together in my head leads me to a thought I have been inadvertently chasing. Go big, live now, make it count.

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