The Anchorage to Juneau jet was encased in dark clouds when the 10,000 foot warning chime sounded. I’d been thinking about lessons learned and relationships deepened during writing school at the University of Alaska. After hearing the chime, I looked down for dark shapes that could confirm we were over Lynn Canal and not skimming mountain tops. Seeing nothing but gray, I turned my life over to the pilot and his hi tech gear and tried to nap. It’s the only sane way to fly to a rain forest town crammed between glaciated mountains and a strip of sea.
Aki and my partner waited outside the security area. My partner smiled a warm welcome and the little dog squeaked and jumped when she spotted me. This morning Aki and I hiked up to Gasteneau Meadows even though it rained and clouds obscured the mountain tops. I couldn’t find flower blooms, wild animals, or even birds. Beauty hung in rain drops that clung to down facing pine needles. That’s how it is sometimes in Alaska. You learn to appreciate the comforts of friends, dog or human, and beauty where offered even when the rain falls and clouds block the peaks. You learn to appreciate the difference between the warm rain of summer and the punishing stuff that will come in October. In fall, you look forward to the crispness of winter and search the old growth for its rich mix of clam and drama.