Home Again Jiggety Jog
It's a lot colder here than when I left two weeks ago, and hard to believe that in North Carolina it was 80. In Florida that's expected, but it was actually a little cooler there. My talks at "The Gathering" in Raleigh went well, or at least as well as a keynote speaker who has lost her voice can expect.
I couldn't even phone anyone to tell them that I couldn't speak, because I couldn't. I tried to call my mother-in-law, but frightened her, as it sounded as if I was being strangled. The church, St. Michael's, is a beautiful, big, thriving Episcopal community with a membership nearly as large as Haines. It was inspiring to reaffirm my place in this tribe in a parish where 600 people attend Sunday services. The church had wonderful acoustics too, and a great sound system, so that helped. I whispered (from the pulpit no less) and they could hear me. When I joked that I wished they were more, well Southern, so someone could jump up and heal me with the holy spirit, a woman who was leading the yoga breakout session prayed for me, and another, very kind, very genteel lady, handed me a sure-cure after my talk. She said the old North Carolina remedy would guarantee I had a voice the next day. When I returned to my hotel and opened it up, the little kit contained an airplane bottle of bourbon, a corked jar of thick honey, and a tea bag. The instructions were to mix them all with hot water and drink before bedtime.
Yesterday, I attended a Haines assembly committee meeting a few hours after the rock and rolling six-hour ferry ride from Juneau to Haines. (The wind was gusting to 65 mph and big rollers blowing down Lynn Canal pitched and bobbed the small workhorse of the M/V LeConte so much so that passengers were seasick, including the cook in the cafeteria.)
After a trip to moderate climes, and the land of well-groomed men and women, everyone in the meeting looked so familiar, and so very Alaskan. Winter weary, scruffy, a tad ornery, and bundled up, with ski -hat hair and several shirts and insulated boots, and seeing them (us) that way, with refreshed eyes, I knew for sure, that I was home again. This is what Jimmy Buffet means when he sings 'going where the climate suits my clothes'. Which is a long way of saying it's nice to go away, but nicer to be in Haines. Even if it is freezing. (And spring is so very close. One warm-snap away.)