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 year in Review…in photos.
Yup’ik girl in a kuspuk, by Clark Mishler
Man carved from bone
A welcome gift when I first arrived. See next post for more about it.