Monday, September 13, 2010
Oh You Characters of Glacier Bay, I'll Miss You
Alaska, Alaska, Alaska. What a summer and what a crew.
There was the girl who escaped death and woke up from a coma with images of Alaska flooding through her head. Her cousin died months before and he always talked of Alaska, and so she went to feel closer to him.
There was the hefty guy, and I don't really know why he went to Alaska. Perhaps to escape some aspect of his life? A bit of a loner, he was socially awkward and left Glacier Bay without a job, just heading to Sitka with a bag and hoping for the best. Similarly, he would go camping with a backpack filled with firewood, a blanket, and cotton clothes. Mind you, we lived in a rainforest. I always had this sense to reach out to him, like he was unhappy and contemplating suicide.
Then there was the hilarious girl who spent every night making arts and crafts on the other side of my bedroom wall. Her creations were incredible and brought out the child in me. I would go over and paper mache lampshades and make decorations for my room out of beer labels and markers. She took 2 months off from her job at a bookstore in Boulder to be in Alaska.
There were the couples that met in Glacier Bay and fell madly in love. Glacier Bay is a magical place, and people come from all over the globe and convene in a small area we call "Brown Town." Out of place from regular habits, routines, and circumstances, people are easily swept away by the magic, the moment, and fall into each others arms. By the time couples leave to the reality of the lower 48, often the magic and connection disappear and they go their separate ways. I wish these couples the best in their southern journeys and hope the magic continues.
Then you have the ex-meth addicts, the alcoholics, the church-goers, the chaplins and ministers, the school kids, the school drop-outs, the odd ones, the dog mushers, the mother and daughter team, the farm boys, the season to season parkies, the locals, and the city folk.
Glacier Bay is always filled with a mish-mosh of characters. Coming to the park straight from West Hollywood, the most superficial, extravagant place I know, I was overwhelmed stepping foot onto the soil of the complete antithesis of what I had known. Just as all arrivees to Glacier Bay judge and label, I saw my coworkers and wondered what I was doing here and who the hell I would hang out with over the summer. There wasn't one person that I could picture in my circle of friends in Los Angeles. In such a living situation you become friends with people that you never thought imaginable, and it opens your mind. It exposes you to fresh thought and perspective and it changes you.
All these friends and friendships I made over the summer I will miss. I met some outstanding people with unbelievable souls, and I hope to see them again in my lifetime. If not, I hope they know that they helped me along my path. They gave me a shoulder during the transition from my stable lifestyle to the unstable, uncertain life of a traveler. They shared their thoughts, their stories, and their hearts, and I thank them all. I look forward to watching our friendships grow and evolve.
Until next time...