Writing the Distance: Natalie Dawson

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Today, Natalie Dawson writes about rule breakers.

Rule Breakers

Unphased by the pandemic, they disregarded caution, let the excitement of spring and sex and sustenance control their urge to move and mate. They ignored the rules of social distance and mocked those who wore masks. Though they usually made a lot of noise, they took advantage of the lack of human activity to speak in whispers. Some of them even went as far as to poop in places where humans would sit to enjoy a sunny afternoon. Others acted ignorant of the entire fiasco and just went about their annual walk into and over the mountains in search of the ocean. They didn’t seem to hear the warnings about sheltering in place. A few decided to visit bays usually reserved for large cruise ships, singing to each other about quiet tides. These swans, sparrows, mergansers, cranes, caribou, whales were the envy of all the humans. Allowed to fly, gather in flocks, move between villages, swim together, and share meals, animals hardly noticed the longing in human stares and wistful writing about how the “natural world” was doing just fine without people.

Natalie Dawson splits her time between the Chugach Range and the Chilkat River. She is a huge fan of birch forests at sunset and backlit mountains at dawn.

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