One Alaskan Trip Around the Sun

I can’t believe I’ve been here for a year already! Time has flown by.
September is here, the month I first came, and every time I go outside, the Autumn weather, the shortening length of the days, the dimming of summer, hearkens back to this time last year. When I had just arrived, with a one-way ticket in hand. Fresh, new, kind of nervous, unknowing, eagerly anticipating, enchanted by my new Alaska home.

My Dad gave me the best advice: take pictures when you first arrive somewhere, because that’s when everything is new and different and catches your eye. After that, you start to see things as normal and common. So I took lots of pictures to try to capture Nome at the beginning.

I went out for a run tonight, and it is true. So much has become normal now. 🙂 The dirt roads, the ramshackled homes that impressed me greatly when I first arrived…because how could anyone survive an Arctic winter in one of those?! But they do. People are strong and vital and hearty and resilient here. I know this now. Because I’ve seen in it over and over again in my patients and my neighbors and my friends.

In many ways I have become deeper in love with Nome and this corner of the world. I’m growing, and it’s growing into my heart. I have learned so much from patients. I feel more connected, I can think of a thousand memories that make me smile—lots of these are posted in this blog. I feel the love and warmth more dearly.

Tonight I heard the call of birds against the starry dusk sky as they fly south for the winter. And it reminded me of this time last year. The smell of Autumn wafts through the cooling air, and tonight I even smelled the smoke of a wood burning stove. The sun sank sooner, faster the light dimmed. The tundra reds and golds are fading to brown.

Some things don’t change that much. Like the Bering Sea, the waves dancing on the shore, the smell of the sea, the expanse of the sky. The rocks along the shore, the sparkling seaglass gems, mermaid’s tears, some call it. I got to run and do yoga on the beach and the joy is still there just as much as when I moved here. I guess I was afraid it might fade.

I feel heartier, stronger. I made it through a winter once. Ready to button it down and hunker down. I stored up blueberries for pancakes and muffins, and I stored up seaglass for winter activities, like making candleholders and mosaics. I feel like I have an inkling more of knowing. Although I feel like this winter might be colder than last. I think every year will still be full of anticipation.

The Bering Sea tonightIMG_4491.JPG

Tundra dressed in Autumn colorsIMG_4611.JPG

A beautiful note from one of my patients, seaglass I found tonight. IMG_4612.JPG

Dalai Lama

After a run and yoga on the beach.IMG_4581.JPG

The year in Review…in photos.

The airfield right in Nome
IMG_3992.JPG

Aaska Airlines, the unique combi!
IMG_3586-0

Alaska grandeur
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reindeer on the tundra
cropped-P10105801.jpg

Amazing colors
P10100711.jpg

Arctic tern flying into the wind
20140720-004438-2678688.jpg
Crashing waves20140720-004438-2678279.jpg

Fireweed flowers20140714-005743-3463744.jpg

Sealskin birds20140702-231047-83447452.jpg

Herd of muskoxOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Love this flag and this constellation that hangs above us every night20140622-141002-51002225.jpg

Moose Pass, AK20140622-141002-51002860.jpg

Beach art20140610-002014-1214071.jpg

Seagull soaring20140610-002016-1216518.jpg

Chopper ride to Diomede!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Little Diomede Clinic
Little Diomede Health Clinic

The rock island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Amazing musicians, people, friends
20140504-033440.jpg

Tundra, mountains, flowing clouds
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bonfire on the beach!
20140427-175315.jpg

Blueberry pancakes
20140407-004413.jpg

Kotzebue, “neighboring” town inside the Arctic Circle20140407-004336.jpg

Yup’ik girl in a kuspuk, by Clark Mishler
Young Yup'ik girl, Shaylene Spein, in traditional kuspuk, Kwethluk, Alaska

Another gorgeous flight!
cloudy mountains ii

It’s all good in the hood
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Candlelight yoga in the depths of winter
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Airplane in white
Airplane in white

Cargo to the villages
Cargo in the plane

Northern Lights!
Northern Lights

DSC_2997

Nome winter solstice sun
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A card from one of my best friends–I received so much encouragement from my friends and family. Thank you all so much!!!! <3OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Standing on an iceberg in the Bering Sea
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wilderness patterns, mother nature’s art
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

image

Where we weremap_gambell6

Loading up the plane!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hanging out with the future of Alaska
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Patient transportation wagon
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whaling/fishing boat
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_4091

Message in the sand
cropped-PA031092.jpg

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wales
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Honey bucket!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Storm cloudOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Blueberries
P1050633

Blueberry picking!
P1050593

Cotton flowers
white fluffy flowers

 

Man carved from bone

Carved bone man

children

Starfish wave
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Healer’s call, written by an amazing doctor that I met here in Nome
A Healer's Call

Polar bear skin!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Birds headed south
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

me in council bluffs

Directions for how to get out of Nome!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A welcome gift when I first arrived. See next post for more about it.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

11 thoughts on “One Alaskan Trip Around the Sun

  1. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year! We have loved following you through your blog, seeing the beauty of Alaska captured through your eyes and hearing about all of your adventures. So proud of you!! Love you!

    • Awww thanks Janelle! You’re so kind! It has been a fun adventure so far…I’m looking forward to more! You guys should come up and visit next Summer–your boys would love it here! 🙂 Love you and miss you!

  2. Shana,
    I have really enjoyed the photos and experiences you have shared this year. I am no longer in Bethel having moved to Cordova the June 1st. I love Cordova even better and enjoy the mountains and Prince William Sound. Thank you for all the sharing you do, letting people get just a little view of what life is like in Alaska. I sometimes wish I had gone to Nome instead of Cordova when I see your beautiful pictures and the fun things that you’ve done there. But really being anywhere is Alaska is truly and amazing experience. Take care and hope you have another wonderful year where ever you may be.

    • Thanks, Marsha! I’ve heard Cordova is beautiful!! I agree-anywhere in Alaska is pretty amazing! I do hope to get out and travel around this awesome, huge state sometime as well! I will be based in nome for at least the next couple years, which I’m really glad about. 🙂 <3 Take care and hope you have a great year as well! 🙂

    • Thanks, Patt! It flies by! 🙂 Hope you have a great season here! 🙂 I randomly, last minute decided to go blueberry picking last night. I got 2 + quarts of blueberries! If I had your number, I would’ve called. 🙂 Did you get to go out yet?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge