This week, two of my good friends lost a parent. One - her Dad. Totally unexpected. The other - her Mom. Expected but shocking just the same. My heart goes out to both of these dear ladies. I wish I could take away their pain. I've felt this pain before when I lost my Dad many years ago. I keep thinking there's been some mistake and he'll walk through the door any minute.
As I sit alone in this beautiful wilderness home in Alaska and off the grid - it's easy to reflect on the magnitude of "living the dream." Living is the dream. We are here for a short time and life can change in an instant. Life is fleeting, and relationships are precious.
I ask myself: "Have I done any good in the world today? Have I made a difference? Did I touch anyone's heart or lighten someone's load? Especially my Mom, Daughters or Grandkids?" Living off the grid makes me think about stuff like that. Mostly because there is so much real danger here and yet so much beauty.
Nick reminded me I am in Nature's backyard - not mine - and need to be very careful. I am. On a lighter note - yesterday was packed full of drama, adventure, excitement, sheer terror, and fun. It went like this:
I woke up with three goals:
Work on Volume Two of The Truth About Suicide (Timeline: hours)
Open the gates so the fuel truck could deliver the fuel (Timeline: 30 minutes)
Meet my friends in Talkeetna for lunch (Timeline: 2 hours)
Simple enough - right? Bear in mind, (get it? "bear") living in Alaska takes twice as long to do half as much. And for a beach-girl/city-slicker, being alone in the middle of the wilderness - off the grid - makes for another set of problems. Just driving up or down my driveway is a near-death experience. I'm not kidding. A thirty-minute task to open the gates ended up taking 2 hours.
I had to get dressed and leave the safety of my cabin to go open the gate. I drank my celery juice and detox smoothie in preparation. I went to check on the batteries to make sure I had enough power to take a shower. Power was down due to all the rain yesterday. Solar panels need sun.
I was out of clean underwear and worried I wouldn't have enough power to wash and dry clothes. I didn't. Time was of the essence so I had to go "freestyle." Not good. I would go down the mile and half driveway - open the two gates and run back home to change. I could do this.
The first gate opened without a hitch. Note, I do not care for that gate. It has a combination lock on it and when I'm scared - I have difficulty opening it. I laid on the horn to not surprise any bears. The bears weren't there, but the carcass of a moose was. Perhaps the bear wasn't hungry, anymore, I thought. Geez. Why do I do this to myself?
I was fifty-yards from the second gate and thought: "WHAT THE PHO?" Something white and huge was crossing my entire driveway, preventing the ability to pass. I went into a hyper-aware survival mode, glad I had my gun. Adrenaline was rushing. All those spy movies I watched over the years didn't help - did someone put something across the road so I would have to stop? There was no room to turn around. Well, I wouldn't go out without a fight.
As I cautiously edged forward, with my hand on my gun - I saw that it was a huge tree. Oh great. I had just taken the rope out of my car the day before, but I had also just purchased a new chain for the chainsaws, back at the cabin.
I got out of the car and tried to move the tree by lifting it. Right! Not happening. I busted off some of the top branches so I could drive around it. Opened the second gate, and went to my neighbor's home - a couple of miles away. No one was home. Called and left a message as to the tree dilemma.
I called the fuel truck to make sure he wasn't on the way. He laughed when I told him about the tree. Typical Alaska situation. Moving that tree was going to take a while. Back to the cabin to get a rope and the chainsaws. When I returned to the tree, I found the tree moved and my neighbor standing there smiling. WOW. That's the way people are here in the wilderness, off the grid. They see a job that needs to be done and they do it. They help each other.
I called the fuel people giving an "all clear," and went to fuel up my truck, pick up some supplies at Cubby's (the local grocery store) and met the ladies for lunch.
The Lunch ladies!
A convertible in Alaska! This lady has spunk!
So, things worked out eventually. I made it back to the cabin, clean underwear, and writing. As if things couldn't get better? This text was waiting for me:
"I can't tell you how proud I am to be part of volunteering for this dream you have done. God is good. I see in your eyes, as well as Nick's, and the both of you give that deep kindred feeling as if you are blood-related from one mold. I can see the fire in your eyes as Nick's, and it bleeds love for our nation's heroes, mixed with humility. So that's it. I only do that wishy-washy stuff once a year. Ha."
Then he continued:
"Out there with individual bliss and peace is good. Remind me sometime and I'll share what I did one day floating in the middle of a river in the Republic of Congo, telling my guys on the Zodiac boat to let me off and I would float down the river on my own for two miles in the middle of nowhere with nothing but me, the feeling of fear, loneliness, and peace at the same time. It took about an hour to finally reach base camp. Kind of hard to explain yet I think you can feel with imagination what it would feel like not having control, yet peace."
I totally get that. It's what I do here in Alaska. Find peace, loneliness, and fear. Feel alive.
PS My daughter told me I am old, and I'm the only one who doesn't know it.
Do some good today. Love on someone.
Be Kind - Be Well - Be Happy