Geeze, I’m becoming one of those bloggers. Sorry. Sorry, sorry. Sorry again and forever. I’d promise to do better, but why make promises you probably won’t keep? Let’s just all keep our expectations low for the next several years, and when I unexpectedly don’t become a barista-for-life-with-unrealized-aspirations-of-writing-a-novel, we can all go out for dessert.
I’m in Barrow right now. I’m up here working with the Barrow Baha’i community on a project to train older youth to start junior youth groups.
This is where Barrow is, if you’re unfamiliar with Alaskan geography:
It’s about 671 miles north of Anchorage, if you’re drawing a straight line up and down the state. Which is what you end up doing to get there, since it’s off the road system.
I’ve never been to Barrow before, but I drove all the way up to Prudhoe Bay several summers ago when I was working in Coldfoot. At some point after Atigun Pass, the mountains just slope into the tundra and never come back up. It’s eerie and flat, and the mosquitoes are bigger than you’ve ever seen them. Prudhoe is like the setting for a YA Lit dystopian novel, with all the larger-than-life machinery.
Barrow is cut of the same cloth, but it’s a real place, not just an oil field. It’s not the steep, mountainous Alaska I’m used to, but there’s still something about the way the tundra turns into the Arctic Ocean without any sort of ceremony and the sea ice pushes itself up close to the beach in the ever-present wind.
The sun never really quite sets in the summer in Alaska anyway, but it fades out in the middle of the night depending on where you are. But up here the brightness never fades. It’s the same at 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. And it was 34 degrees and snowing yesterday, the kind of good biting cold you get in the fall before you have to break out your real winter coat.
God, I love Alaska.