AK 2010, Day 33: Lists

I have gone jogging and stumbled upon an airstrip. I have met strangers in the forest, heard bumps in the night, and dreamed of moose and bears. I have taken sauna showers and bucket showers, rainwater showers, and no-shower showers Next week I will take the first running-hot-water-from-a-steady-water-source-shower since August 14th. I’ve eaten cranberries, crowberries, rose hips, and blueberries. I have biked to the place where Carlo Creek flows into the Nenana just to watch the water move:
There is a clearing of land just over the bluff to the north of the cabin. I check it every time I walk along the porch to the outhouse. It is the place, I have decided, where I will get to see a grizzly or a bull moose. I gaze at least a dozen times per day. White patches of aspen bark wink through the sunlight, chuckling at my foolishness.
I have sat and sat and written and sat and made myself so hip-sore that the task of writing is now accompanied by the pre-requisite of stretching. All of this for 10 stories tidied, one story completely rewritten, and another utterly thrashed.
I have seen a man riding his bicycle, pulled by a sled dog. I have watched red squirrels nest in old kitchen cabinets. I have seen Mt. McKinley on three different occasions—all of them luckier than winning a poker game. More times, I have seen the place where Mt. McKinley should be and I have stared and stared, trying to will the clouds to part. I’ve seen the sunset at midnight (Fairbanks) and I’ve seen the sunset at 9pm (Denali). I’ve seen apartments with black plastic over the windows, Alaskans with travel cases for eye masks, and Natives who call the light a blessing and the rain a blessing and the ravens a blessing and even their own six-cylinder, dinged-up minivans a blessing. I’ve seen someone I thought I’d never see again and now I don’t care to think about it. I’ve seen moose racks larger than a first grader, kale the size of toddlers, and carrots longer than an infant.
Most abundantly: stars, stars, and more stars.
Calls from a great horned owl, black-billed magpie, boreal chickadee, common raven, and many more. Chatter and banter from obsessive red squirrels. The sound of a moose sloshing through a pond. The sound of a moose chewing grasses. The sound of sled dogs yowling at mealtime. The sound of—bless it for its simplicity—the Monitor heater kicking on in the morning (it was 18 degrees in the outhouse this morning). It keeps the cabin at 60, luxuriously warm according to this wood-splitter.

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