My journal holds a breadcrumb collection from the path I just traveled. Loosely penned notes, dates, times, temps, names. Hopeful reminders that will eventually congeal as sentences and full-blown thoughts, filling pages, taking me back. Glaciers and timbered mountain wilderness in evening light from the cockpit of a de Havilland Otter. Dappled sun and hushed spruce-path steps, blazing trails in six-foot fireweed, whistling to the possibility of bears. Tight line after tight line after tight line of toothy, big-shouldered, colored-up pinks throwing haymakers in glacier-gray water. Bald eagles in moss-laden riverside branches, stealthy and silent but for the occasional sharp cry to their mate around the next bend. Falling tide exposing rivers within rivers and soggy, shell-sand-grass-stone acres of what looks like the landscape of another planet. Catching bright, frantically strong and eternally hungry dollies amongst the pinks and chum, brown bear and wolf tracks on the sand bar behind me next to my own. Late night picnic table conversations and laughs and schemes over beers and bourbon about music, kids, work, fish, stories, environment, politics, food, love, loss and travel, punctuated by the occasional silent stretch, each of us retreating into our own thought-filled minds. Heavy morning mist clinging to the rising mountains, filling the valley, filling my nose and lungs as I stand, eyes closed, inhaling giantness.
Before I flew west, I was a long way from Alaska.
Now I’m back east, and I’m a long way from home.