Monday, November 15, 2010
I went back to North America without a camera, so all I have is the five pictures that I took with my computer during the flights.
It was a work trip - one week in Oregon and two weeks in Alaska.
I don't miss Alaska when I'm gone, I think because I'm still enjoying our traveling so much.
But I was surprised at how powerful an experience it was to fly into Alaska on this trip - it was really a bit overwhelming to be back in that place.
Part of it is the scale and the beauty. Alaska is so much more, and more beautiful, than anywhere that we've been lately. The state is as wide as the continent of Australia, and you could lose New Zealand in Chugach State Park and forget where you put it. I've always thought that Alaskans who go traveling to compare things unfavorably with home are particularly tiresome. But when you return after an absence, the comparison with everything that you've seen since you've been away is inescapable.
But the draw of the place is more than the roadless mountains and wild rivers. Alaska is just home, the place where we still have good friends in a whole bunch of different places, the place where Alisa and I each put our roots down seperately and then built a life together, the place where we plan to return. We were lucky enough to be young in Alaska and to feel it as a place that was equal to our boundless energy, and now it's just part of us.
So I enjoyed the trip, and seeing our friends, even if about half of them did let me know that if only one of us could come back, they'd sort of prefer that it was Alisa and not me. And when I got back to Hobart I found Eric with croup, and Alisa with a fever, and Elias with ants in his pants. If we're lucky Alaska will be home again, but for now home is wherever the four of us are, and I got home just in time.