“Alaska changed my life.” It would be tough to find an Alaskan author who doesn’t share this sentiment with writer Kim Heacox.

In his musings on restlessness, Heacox reflects on what happened when the small community of Gustavus became a second-class city. Governing yourselves, the community reasoned, was part of growing up.

The paradox, as Heacox observed, is that America, for all its self-governance, in some ways refuses to grow up. With 5% of the world’s population consuming 25% of the world’s resources, we’re stuck in ego-centric, perpetual adolescence. Heacox watched Gustavus edge toward the credo “If our town isn’t growing, it’s dying.”

“In creating a city, I wondered if we were losing a community,” he notes in his essay. Full maturity, he says, involves living modestly and not succumbing to a fear of dying.

I agree with Heacox. Restlessness is a good thing. But it can catapult us toward self-destruction if we succumb without reflection. That’s why we need Alaskan authors.

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