I’m sitting in the Seattle airport watching a circus of baggage wagons, maintenance vehicles, and security personnel trying to corral a big black dog that’s running loose on the tarmac. The dog is dodging these golf cart cowboys at a full gallop, and folks are shooting video out the window. This could hardly be further from the quiet place I inhabited just a few days ago.
One of the first things we did when we came out from the cabin on Saturday was make a shopping stop at one of the enormous Fred Meyer stores in Fairbanks. It was so strange. At first, it felt like my eyeballs’ rods and cones couldn’t get it together to create human beings out of all those crazy colors and shapes. Such an alarming disarray of people! Then it became fascinating. I sat down in the furniture section and couldn’t get up. The overwhelming diffusion coalesced into so many details: the big man spilling over the seat of his sit-down scooter, glowering under a dirty hat and not moving for the longest time; the mom trying to organize her three kids, one girl in black and white striped pants and a brightly flowered top skittering sideways while two smalls rocked the shopping cart back and forth; a skinny old guy who shuffled over to the display of pillows on sale and the stranger who helped him reach up to pluck the one he wanted. It went on and on.
Stewart found me sitting and staring like this and he laughed and took a picture: “You look happy. You don’t have a thought in your head!”
No thoughts at all! I think I look high. You can get that way without drugs. Just go far enough into the woods for two weeks or more.
Even though I’ve been back in “civilization” for a couple of days, I’m not 100% ready to move out of that wordless space, so this morning — after all night on a red eye from Fairbanks, now waiting for a connection to SFO — I thought I’d just post these few photos from our time at the cabin and then back in town.
Stewart, lucky guy, is hiking back out to the cabin today. He’ll be out there for a few more weeks and then home in September.
Soon, I’ll be posting a few things we worked on while we were away: Stewart’s story about building the cabin and some experiences with the animals around us.
I want to say it’s good to be back, but I don’t know what it is. It’s a black dog that got loose at the airport. You can see how much it loves to run, how in this moment all it wants is not to be caught.