Anchorage Familiar


I am sitting in the airport lounge, an hour before a flight home, and trying to figure out how to put into words the weekend I am finishing.  It’s a Monday night, and I’m in Anchorage, Alaska.  I only landed here last Thursday.  This weekend, however, felt like it lasted for years.  Years and years and years.  So it’s just hard to put this all into words.

For you Johnie-come-lately Bear Feeders Anchorage used to be my home for two years.  in fact, this Blog exists to chronicle my misadventures in the 49th state.  Then sometime, for some reason, I decided to move south in 2014.  This weekend was the first trip back since that time.  Three and a half years later, one would expect all I could see, and all I would feel is the changes.  Yet everything about it was familiar.

In Los Angeles, I would be figuratively and literally lost if it wasn’t for my GPS.  Year-and-a-half, and I can’t tell Sun Valley from Sunland.  I am not always sure what is north, west, or towards the Ocean.  In Anchorage, no GPS was needed.  No maps.  No directions.  In my rental car, I could find each place I wanted to find.  From the quickest way towards Girdwood, down to a nice little coffee hut I knew could keep me awake.

That’s just the symbolic side.

A motivating factor to get me up here was a curling Bonspeil at my old Anchorage Curling Club.  While there was absolutely nothing in the way that I played that could be considered to be familiar with my old game (it hurt … it hurt a lot), being at the club was as familiar as things get.  There were a lot of new faces, a lot of new players, but  a lot of old friends.  I spent so much time chatting and hugging (and drinking … and maybe sleeping on the curling club couch … and a few chairs a well); that for a while it felt like I never left.

The trap with saying ‘familiar’ is that people quickly throw out ‘Familiarity Breed Content’.  Maybe that is what I have over those days of the past.  All through my time up here, I could see those things that I loved about this place, see it in all it’s glory, beauty, and greatness.

The high peaked mountains jutting out of the water of Turnagain Arm rising up to the sky.

The way the snow pulls up the side of a hill to show you that seasons are changing.

The way evergreens blend through birch trees.

The clouds rolling and breaking just so a splash of light bounces just right off of a glacier.

How the sun seems bigger, the light brighter, the night darker.

The people happier.

The friends.

The smiles.

The words.

I found myself thinking … life was just easier here.  Life in Alaska, the most rugged, most demanding, most difficult place to live in this country … was easier.

So I sit in this airport lounge, trying to find the right words to put this weekend into perspective.  It’s hard to do it.  Maybe it’s hard because I still need to process this weekend.  Maybe it’s hard because Alaska is so unique.  Maybe it’s hard because 3-1/2 years of questioning why I left is staring me in the face.

Or maybe it’s just hard to sum up, because it’s just hard to sum up.

Loving thanks to one of the bestest people in the world, Laura Sherman, for putting me up for a weekend.  As well as Mr. Cat (aka Christmas) for letting me room with him; Puck the dog for warming up to me; and Squirrel the dog for never cooling off of me … and Farley Dog to, but not as much cause he’s a jerk.


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