Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First day in Circle

After a four hour drive we winded our way through town. The ice chunks were larger than the houses they moved. The smell of fuel oil was thick,the town seemed deserted. We drove to the school to find the classes busy and full of life. Mary was busy preparing the school for summer, packing and cleaning. The school's basement had been flooded, the classrooms were untouched.
I would spend the night in the school, we unloaded the truck and filled the multi-purpose room. Now I could start a friendship with these strangers. Mary will leave in five days, my only contact here in town. Kurt is the high school teacher and the principal, we talked for a couple hours. He found me a cot to sleep on.
Kurt didn't paint a Rosy picture of life here in Circle. I'm hoping he just needs a rest from life here in the village. He told me to expect two people from out of town.
I let Mike and Rachael in last night not knowing who they were or if they were from here. I offered coffee, we talked as the water heated. They were from TCC, I felt relieved having worked with Heidi from TCC since the beginning in 2007. They knew of Heidi, but had not met her. I asked them if they had ever been in Arctic Village, we had many of the same friends. Mike said he asked people what are all the buildings aside the houses were for. He was told they're greenhouses, we grow gardens here. That in itself was worth the trip, I look forward to the day, it's seventeen sparkling degrees.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Circle, Alaska 2013: Bill and Penny

After weeks of preparation, I landed in Fairbanks. The smell of spring was nowhere in sight. No gardening supplies had even hit the selves, and Eagle Summit was impassable most hours of the day. Traveling south to Randy's brought slide offs in the mountains with several trucks. I creeped along at thirty miles an hour.
Over the next four days any problems I faced worked themselves out. Randy was an hour and a half early and off to Circle we went knowing the village was under water from the ice breakup. Ice sheets larger than houses that damaged or destroyed so many homes. The only store for one hundred- sixty miles had four feet of water, and was closed for three weeks. I was asked to go home and start next year.
I will soon begin sharing how this was by far the best experience we've ever had in Alaska. Part of the reason, all the years in Arctic Village. Long before we left, we were so sad about leaving. What made that special,  Ann coming with us. This will take some time.