Sitka Day 10: The Death of Time

Where did time go on this island? Caught up in “old man’s beard” as it dangles from these hemlocks? Eddying in whorls of ancient wood? Creeping down veins of moss? History outruns the present in Sitka, greeting me at every turn.
Here, the Indian River pours into Crescent Bay of Sitka Sound and I listen to the blending of fresh water meeting salt.
Here, this rocky shore was bloodied in the 1804 Battle of Sitka–Russians, Aluets, Tlingits–a fight whose consequences still infuse this city from its street names to its cemeteries to its churches to its parks.

Here, I watch as fog exhales between mountains, lifting around islands in constant illusion.

In a place where entire mountains can hide, where one minute the horizon is there and the next it is sopped in, where the surrounding ocean outsizes the island an immeasurable number of times–where does one go to gain perspective?

Perhaps like time in Sitka, perspective also cannot be trusted. Better to greet each day as if it were your first: to assume that where there are clouds there will be mountains and that where there is water there might soon be solid land. Bury time at sea, so that together with the tides it comes and goes by its own good clock, always tugging a little at the mind as if to say: Now you’re here. Now you’re gone. It’s all the same.

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