Mei Mei Evans: Fall Equinox

momentous week.  My friend Debi Poore
flew to Anchorage from Homer, to visit with friends and to do a presentation to
my APU class.  She spoke to us of growing
up on a homestead in Kenai: childhood memories of surviving the ’64 earthquake,
the isolation brought on by health quarantine, changes to the land, parenting
–her own and her parents’, and she shared her writing about early Chinese
cannery workers in Prince William Sound. 
Her visit was instructive, resonant, an occasion for joy.  Meanwhile, back in Homer, Mavis Muller was
leading the community through yet another ritualized “Burning Basket” beside
the ocean.

contractor returned from a successful hunting trip, and with just a little
prodding, has now almost completed our home remodel.  To appreciate the full significance of this,
please see my previous blogpost. 

It was
also the fourth and final week of an intensive class I’ve been teaching,
“Environmental Encounters.”  How
fortunate for me and my class that the new Anchorage Museum exhibit, “Dena’inaq
Huch’ulyeshi: The Dena’ina Way of living” opened this week.  The exhibit teaches a sustainable, ongoing
way of life that is entirely relevant to those of us who live, work, study, and
recreate in the 49th state. 
As well, I enjoyed my students’ presentations of their individual
research projects on topics ranging from the Pebble Mine (the day after Anglo
American announced that it was withdrawing from the project), to invasive/introduced
species in Alaska, to the revival of Alutiiq culture and language, to ocean
diving in Whittier, and more.

On the same
crystalline day that dawned to reveal new snow dusting the Chugach, stirring
Anchorage’s Canada geese into frenzied and vocal unrest, I watched swans
tipping headfirst into Potter Marsh and drove down to Seward with a stop at
Kenai Lake to gawk at the extensive maroon tundra that burnished the upper
reaches of Mt. Andy Simons.  Autumn was
definitely afoot.  That night, shivering beside
the ocean at Lowell Point, I saw the full moon levitate from behind the
mountains of Resurrection Bay, casting its luminous reflection onto the
building tide.

And last
night, accompanied by two teens and my favorite nine-year old, I joined the
throng that gathered in the dark outside the Anchorage Museum to witness the Light
Brigade’s astonishing multi-media performance, “Over, Beyond, Across, Through,”
executed on the exterior of that sleek building.  Like the city’s “Fire and Ice” spectacles on
New Year’s Eve, it’s always fun to rub shoulders downtown with fellow Anchorage
citizens at nighttime events.  Despite
the predictably jaded reaction of the teenagers, my fourth-grade friend and I
were dazzled and amazed by the dance, the play of light, the throbbing ethereal
music, and the gyrations of aerialists suspended from the roof.

Like I
said, a momentous week.  Blessed be.

Mei Mei Evans likes the way that,
in autumn, the woods of southcentral Alaska smell like a wet dog.
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