Alaska, home, kenkulluci, saying goodbye, Toksook Bay, Uncategorized, yupik


There is so much beauty here in this little Yupik village-the bay, the water, the mountains and the snow; the fish, the northern lights, the ravens and seagulls and geese.
We had only lived in Alaska a short time before there was the first funeral. A child younger than my own who had died in a house fire. A few weeks later, an elder. Followed several weeks later by another child and a another elder and this week, another elder.
This is a small village. That is a lot of grief.
But here, there is even beauty in a sunset.
For several days after the death of a community member, the village stills. basketballs stop bouncing and the community center is quiet. When the funeral comes, everyone will come to say their goodbyes. When the funeral is over, there will be a feast. The family will pass out gifts to those who attend.
Let that sink in. the family will send guests away with gifts.
I find myself deep in heartfelt thought.
I am writing as an outsider. A guest here, nothing more and nothing less. I watch these things, feel these things with an open heart, gratitude and wonder.
Absolutely everything here seems by design a way to stay connected and in a spirit of caring for one another. Everything always centered on loving back and forth, around and around in a circle of connectedness. It is admirable, it is amazing. It is sacred, but empowering and humbling.
Today, please remember, you too have something to give.
Kenkulluci-love one another.

home, McGregor, saying goodbye, teaching, Texas, Uncategorized

To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before (and all their students, too)

There’s a team of Fifth grade teachers in McGregor. At the start of the school year, they were strangers. Today, I said goodbye to friends.
Friends who have opened their hearts in prayer, who have shared their table, who have confided in me, and allowed me to confide in them. These friends have celebrated with me, worried with me, and lifted my spirits.
A year ago when we left Big D for little Oglesby, Jamie asked, “So why did you move HERE?” There were all kinds of answers. From ‘a teaching job’ to ‘doing what’s best for our children’ and even a bit of ‘for the starry nights.’
If Jaimie asked me the same question today, my answer would be quite different.
I came for Jamie, for Mandy, and Debbie and Moriah. I came for Jill and Heather and Nikki. I came to McGregor for Jenna, and Yatziri and Pattrick and Gerardo and Dixie and 90 other fifth graders. While we leave McGregor with less in our pockets and definitely less stuff altogether, I am infinitely richer and my heart overflowing.
See Ya’ll later, Bulldogs. Black and Gold forever.

*this is posted in a wee bit late. Life in Alaska has a way of moving slower but at a quick pace.

Alaska, home, moving, saying goodbye, Uncategorized

11 days. What?!!!

Saying goodbye is never easy.
It’s harder, I think when you weren’t done saying hello.  I did not get to spend nearly enough time and heart with our dear Waco UU.
We said goodbye to our UU church family this morning. My youngest son played in the garden playground one last time and we sang one of our favorites, Blue Boat Home. Every word settled deep into my heart.
“…never a harbor or port have I known…”
I was reminded, myself a sort of wanderer all my life, that I am home in some ways in so many places.  Always and forever, I will find home among these UU sisters and brothers who understand, “service is my prayer.”
As we left, Eastyn paused beneath one of the dozens of trees. “It smells so good here,” he said. I stopped and breathed deeply the smell of warm earth and tree bark and summer grass. Home.
Soon I will stand on the tundra. I will make a home in a house I have never seen, even the sunrise and sunset will be alien. I will breathe the smell of ocean? Maybe sky and fish. Home.
We’ll leave Alaska someday. I will have loved so many there, but we will continue on our journey.
“…and the earth is my blue boat home.”