Quiet Moments in the Backwoods

It's strange that I have become more of a morning person. That is not to say that I don't still enjoy a good long night out with friends, but I never used to see the value in being up before the sun was. I was the kid whose parents had to drag them out of bed in the morning for school or on the weekends when it was past noon. As I sit outside, in the cool (and yes it is cool, I am even all layered up) morning hours, I realize how silly I have been. These quiet moments , all full of possibilities, before the rest of the world is awake, are a hidden treasure!

I spent some time working for a tour company in Alaska (I seem to be reminiscing quite a bit lately) and part of what I did one summer, was organize and supervise ship turning events. This is where all the passengers get off their cruise ship and head for home and all the new ones arrive. She was a fairly small ship - only about a 125 passengers or so. My responsibilities included obtaining the final counts for each transfer; ensuring that we had enough people to cover the transfer; and keeping an eye on the ferry schedule. Yup, you heard that right, the ferry schedule. The airport sat across the narrows on another island. The only way to get across was by a small passenger ferry. It held a few cars, depending on which one was running and often we had to convince other vendors to let us throw luggage from our vehicles to others when they ran out of room. Challenging? Absolutely! Tiring - oh beyond that, these were 14-16 hour days (often longer) for several running.

Summertime is always crazy in Alaska, with all the visitors, fishing, ships, and seaplanes coming and going through the harbor. But each morning before the day started roaring (around 3 to 3:30 am) I said hello to the sunrise. I don't know how it worked out, but these days were always clear, calm and at 3:30 dry. In a place where the rainfall is measured in feet, this was naturally not common.

The walk from the the parking area over to the ship allowed me the opportunity to soak in those hours. It felt vibrant. The energy for the day lingering just on the edges. No cars, no people, just me, the water and the seagulls so to speak.

I saw some amazing things in those hours... humpbacks migrating up the channel; killer whales cruising by and a couple of times harbor seals catching salmon in the creek.

As I sit here on the porch, I can hear the quail starting to wake up for the day, chittering and calling to each other from the neighbor's pine trees where they settle in for the night. The stars haven't gone to bed yet, but the moon has and I can see the sun just beginning to stir over the horizon.

It is Harvest Festival time and later today I will head over to the chaos. For now, I think I will take more time to enjoy the quiet moments of my new backwoods.


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