Sunday, August 7, 2011


Seeing this polar bear trapped behind glass in the airport wasn't what me realize I was really in Alaska—after all, we had live ones in our Providence zoo. It was waking up on a gray morning, looking out the big picture window of my room in City Garden B&B and seeing very familiar looking seagulls wandering aimlessly in the park opposite, then realizing that they were Alaskan seagulls.

City Garden is located on the residential side of Delaney Park, which is only one block wide but 14 blocks long. The strip was originally cleared as a fire break and could still serve that purpose, devoid of trees as it is. The night before I was assigned a comfortable and elegant room overlooking the park, one of only 3 rooms in the suburban style house. The proprietor, Vic, possessed a wealth of knowledge about the Anchorage area, and over a cup of tea I chatted with Vic and two guests who joined us after their dinner in town. We talked of what brought us to Alaska. I explained that I had been chosen as the first Artist in Residence in the Chugach National Forest, and was looking forward to kayaking the fiords and camping next to glaciers on the shore of Prince William Sound. Back in Rhode Island it never failed to come off as a wild adventure. But here my upcoming expedition is just another day in Alaska, received with interest, but not amazement. It was just after 10pm when I turned in and the sun was breaking through the clouds, a warm wet glow on the green leaves outside my window.

It was a little hard to fall asleep even though it was 2:30 am as far as my body knew, and I had been flying for more than 12 hours. The last leg of the flight was amazing though, as I caught a glimpse of Mt. Mckinley's white pyramid peak above a sea of clouds in the far distance. Then the clouds broke long enough to catch sight of a massive glacier pouring through surrealistically gorgeous mountains below.

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