Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Walking in the Dark

"When it's dark enough, you can see the stars."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I lived on main street Hayward I left for school at 7:40 am. Daily I would run out my front door, down the flight of 20 steps, fling open the door of my yellow (yes, you read it right I had a yellow) car, fumble with the keys, turn, start and sprint back up to the warmth of my apartment where I would wrap myself in a blanket for 15 minutes to regain the recent 30 seconds of heat loss, while my car warmed up, then I'd head to work. When I lived in my house in Hayward I would again leave for school at 7:40 am. Daily I would walk into my heated garage, climb in to the warm car, hit the door opener, drive to Gram and Grampa's, leave my car running while I visited for 10 minutes then hop back in my toasty car and comfortably zoom off to school never really having to face the frigid temps. Now I live in my house in Quinhagak, Alaska. Daily I pull on my layers, boots, hat, pashmina, you name it, grit my teeth, open the door, hold my breath and step out into the clutches of the morning freeze. At 7:40 am I commence walking. Its dark when I leave my house. As I walk into the cold darkness it feels more like I'm headed out to a deer stand than to work. I walk that mile trip to school along the gravel main street as four wheelers pass by me, carrying students and teachers alike to school.We don't have buses in Quin. Either the kids walk or they are dropped off by their parents on four wheelers aka 'hondas'. As I near the school I notice the fine art of the 'Honda Dismount' technique. Done correctly one need not ever stop the moving ATV. The expert driver simply passes by the front steps of the school and slows just enough for all riders to comfortably and seemingly safely 'dismount'. The riders don't even miss a step, flawlessly executing a fluid leap off the 'honda', up the steps and through the school doors. This morning's performance was no exception I was in awe, the whole scene was like a dance. Of course my brain is always trying to make things connect in weird ways and it took me back to my horse showing days. I'll try to explain my thinking, I should just stop there, but you don't have to keep reading so I'm just going to keep explaining anyway. This was an event which happened to be my personal favorite called Rescue Race. In this race a person on horseback runs into the arena and picks up (rescues) a person standing on the ground at the opposite end of the arena. The object is to do this as fast as possible and not cause the horse to ever have to slow down. Super fun anyway, Rescue Race was a 'pick up' event and the 'Honda Dismount' is a drop off event but both attempt to keep the vehicle in constant motion. So that's the lastest from the tundra. Deep thoughts, by Rachel eh?
"...May God, our very own God,
continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—
may he never give up and walk out on us.
May he keep us centered and devoted to him,
following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts,
at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors."
~1 Kings 8:56


  1. Thanks for leaving a message on my blog. I enjoy reading your blog. I would love to see this part of Alaska. Well time to get ready for work. It's back to cloudy today - no rain. It will be only in the 40's next week. Hopefully we will still get more warm weather before the cold of winter starts to arrive. Corn harvest continues today. Thankfully the Asian beetle season was super short this year. God bless!

  2. P.S. If you have feel led, would you share about the homes in Quinagak? What is it like to live on tundra? What do they do to keep the roads in shape? How far are the mountains from the village? Thanks

  3. Perfect questions for a blog Kris, I'll get on it asap;) Thanks for the ideas and for reading. Rachel