Good-bye Alaska

I spent my last night in Alaska in my cozy car trunk bed.  I felt it was only proper to eschew a mattress in favor of camping.  You can see the scene that greeted me out the back window of my car in the morning.

On my final day, I took the Glenn Highway back to Anchorage.  It’s a National Scenic Byway and for good reason.

It snakes between the Chugach and Talkeetna mountain ranges in the patch carved by the Matanuska Glacier.  The immensity and majesty of the scenery is overwhelming.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The towering mountains, broadly swaying rivers, topaz-blue glaciers and crystal skies make the humans viewing them in amazement seem miniscule in comparison.  It was a scene I’ll never forget.

Thank you, Alaska, for a wonderful voyage.

You came along at a time in my life when I desperately needed respite and confidence.  You gave me both.

The 13th Century Persian poet and philosopher Rumi wrote that “travel brings power and love back into your life.”

The adventure I’ve embraced and chronicled in this blog has done just that for me.

I have learned that it is possible to engage life fully and joyfully if you open yourself up to diverse experiences and people.

I have learned that from wilderness comes a sense of peace and strength that is sometimes overlooked in our hectic world.

I’ve learned that I can enjoy my own company and the future is anything I want to make it.

And, finally, I’ve learned that you can break the rules – that, in fact, sometimes you gain the most when you do.

Don’t ever waste that chance to bring love and power into your life.

I’ll end with a poem that I found posted on a wall in the Fairbanks museum.  Called “There Is No Word for Goodbye” it’s from Mary Tall Mountain’s volume of poems “The Light on the Wall.”

A word of explanation: sokoya means “aunt” (mother’s sister) and tlaa means “see you.”

“Sokoya, I said, looking through

the net of wrinkles into

wise black pools

of her eyes.

What do you say in Athabascan

when you leave each other?

What is the word

for goodbye?

A shade of feeling rippled

the wind-tanned skin.

Ah, nothing, she said,

watching the river flash.

She looked at me close.

We just say, Tlaa. That means,

See you.

We never leave each other.

When does your mouth

say goodbye to your heart?

She touched me light

as a bluebell.

You forget when you leave us;

you’re so small then.

We don’t use that word.

We always think you’re coming back,

but if you don’t,

we’ll see you some place else.

You understand.

There is no word for goodbye.”

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