In Quinhagak we have a VHF system. Such that, in nearly every household one can be heard with the the mere pressing of a button. Imagine if you will ice road truckers but instead picture tundra dwelling villagers;) That's us! Just recently Principal Eric purchased VHFs for all teacher housing, yep finally we also are connected to the greater 'cyber'/radio village. It's a whole new world! It's like having a scanner but you can join in the conversation if you so desire. I hear things such as: "Jimmy! time to come home!" " But I want to sleep at upi's." "Jimmy! Time to come home!" Or "Choir practice at the church tonight at 7 for anyone interested." Or "....Many, many words in Yup'ik that I have yet to understand. I catch bits and pieces, but not even enough to be remotely dangerous." However my favorite part (aside from the obvious increased security and safety reasons), is the morning greetings! These are heard and echoed all across the village. Starting around 6:30ish as far as I've noticed and lasting for the next 1/2 or so, early risers eager to meet the new day are spreading their joy greeting everyone by offering a pleasant "Gud Morn-Ning Queen-Hawk! (Good Morning Quinhagak)" over the VHF. I've come to expect and appreciate this sunrise salutation. Replying to only myself and Ani in the same local accent "Quyana! And Gud Morn-ing back at ya! Let today begin!"
On the way to school this morning the sky was brilliant! Some days here in Quin as the sun pours down on our beloved Kilbuck Mountain backdrop, it could remind you of the rolling Appalachians. Then other times when the clouds cast darkened shadows about, they take on the more ruggedness of the Himalayas. Oh the mountains in the Quinhagak morning...so unreachable but such a part of my life up here. I kind of have an ongoing conversation with them, so close and so foreign. I need a four wheeler or a snowmobile, but my fear? It would inevitably break down and I would not be able to fix it, or I would get it and have to go by myself. So for this time in my life I've settled to quietly gaze at the mountains, occasionally remembering times other mountains have been closer and imagining hopefully that someday they will be again. Until then, I will continue to inhale this incredible expanse of sprawling tundra and sea letting it be part of who I am.