Vo l . 6 N o . 2
Succumbing to Nature #3, Harding Lake, Alaska
hold, no need to stand here for too long. I don’t want the algae to grow or the mosquitos to swarm. Movements at random, frenetic wanderings, sudden goodbyes and shaky, blurry-eyed good mornings. Negligence in the form of distraction; distraction disguised as ambition; ambition masquerading as rhythmical, lyrical, seasonal fluidity. I have a daydream of a home. Probably up north, but not too far north. I daydream about sitting still long enough to see things grow and blossom and wilt and die around me, only to see them rise out from ground anew in the spring. In this daydream I meet the reality of the land that hosts me with open, focused eyes. I get close enough to know what it needs, to see it through the winter, to consider the consequences of connection and choose to stay in spite of them. I replace the novelty of newness with the vulnerability of commitment. I don’t drive around so much. In this daydream I’m trying to stay put. Or maybe I’m trying to ride along, to feel the rhythms that I’ve resisted, to let the cold permeate and trust that the sun
will thaw what’s been frozen. I recognize that the inferior heat from poultry lamps doesn’t defend against frigid isolation, involuntary displacement, or silent neglect. I recognize that store-bought turtles don’t belong up north, and store-bought ducks do best when they aren’t willed to be wilder, more independent versions of themselves. Nostalgia is a powerful tool, but there is value in learning not to linger too much in the analysis of our pasts; to bring our stories with us into the transition; to succumb to rhythms, to gravity, to the irreversible nature of our individual mistakes and of our collective negligence. In Alaska, transitioning out of the darkness of the cold seasons, we would all emerge from our individual shells. My dad would spend less time alone in his lab with the arrival of his field season. My mother and I would take our algebra sessions to the deck overlooking the visqueen-lined pond. My brother and I would play less hockey and read more stories. We would all move forward, out of the shadows of winter.
A Journal for the North Pacific Rim