A change in dimension forced me out of my human world for a time this afternoon in July. I spent the time occupying my time in my corner office, working on education projects in my corner of Alaska. When the internet server ceased to fulfill its role as portal to the outside world, I found myself at a loss of how to proceed. My administrative purpose rendered temporarily obsolete, I took to the trails around Bartlett Cove, a pastime I save for the afternoons in lieu of a formal lunch break. I watched grey bodies surface in the cove, a glimpse of the massive creature below the dark waters. I listened for the echo of breath and breathed in the same air, thick with moisture and stories of many lives and places I could only imagine.
Upon returning to my office, my technological crutch still nowhere in sight, I was able to temporarily pass the time with tasks that did not require a direct line across invisible waves. Tasks completed, I finally accepted that my time could be better spent working from home. Upon returning to my haven on Same Old Road, however, I found that cell phone service had evaded my grasp as well. Even my long distance calling card refused to offer solace in reaching a voice from the other side.
I sat and read stories of Alaska told through the eyes of John Muir upon discovering Glacier Bay for the first time. Stories of an unfamiliar world—a world of creatures with mysterious, dark eyes lingering between water and land, a world of newborn rocks and misty mountains laced in ice and snow.
I ventured out to my bird blind balcony, brushed aside cobweb and cottonwood, and sat quietly, watching the rain – a liquid connection a greater community beyond my reach – and listening to the drumming sounds upon my roof. Air taxis taking off and landing offered some solace, but I found an unease setting in that I could not explain, a panic I could feel in my chest and irregular palpitations of my heart.
Why could I not find joy in this freedom from the constraints of a social realm? There is no shadow of John Muir in the recesses of my own mind on this rainy Sunday afternoon in July.