I heard a rumor that one of the Kuhns babies looked at his mother, wide-eyed, and whispered, “are there dragons in Alaska?”
That may be the best description of how Alaska made me feel. Like there could be dragons here.
After Elaine’s wedding, I was so tired that I sat in the red chair and didn’t move. For three days I’d focused on wedding, wedding, wedding (you can read about that in Part 1 and Part 2). But now the wedding was over.
I ought to just go home and sleep. Should I just go home and sleep?
It was bedtime, after all. But the sun was still up, in that curious Alaska way. And I felt like maybe there was yet another adventure awaiting, once I got my second wind.
“Let’s go to the river, or something,” said Karli.
So we drove down to the river, a strange, gray, churning thing full of glacial silt. We wandered over the bridge and along the riverbank.
The endless twilight. Everything seemed moody, and weighty, and powerful. The world was a vast expanse of wonders.
I wanted to capture the way Sherri smiled as she squished her feet in the clay.
Karli, Sherri and I made Wesley take a picture of us.
Later we got a proper selfie with all four of us.
Karli ate the moon.
We got back into the car, and then we took some wrong turns. Was it nearing midnight? Time seemed irrelevant. We hopped out and wandered around. Aimless. Drunk on the enchantment of tonight.
The next day we went to Hatcher pass. Everyone came: The Stoltzfus clan, the Kuhns clan, the randos…even Elaine and Brandon. Yes, the newlyweds themselves decided to show up.
“Our honeymoon doesn’t really start until tomorrow,” said Elaine.
Elaine and Brandon
Daisy and her baby beside a mountain stream.
Oh yes. I should tell this story. Remember that cute to-go mug I got at the coffee shop on Friday? Well, it was so adorable that I didn’t throw it away. I continued to brew tea in it throughout the weekend.
On Sunday, when I went to brew myself some tea, I noticed that someone had attempted to wash it. And it was a paper cup. But it still looked usable, so I poured boiling water into it, clicked the lid on, and carried it across the room.
The weakened paper walls of the cup began to collapse. Boiling water spilled out onto my arm. I dropped it in pain, and ran to the sink to run my arm under cold water. Even so, I had a pretty bad first-degree burn, and a mess to clean up.
I found a bag of frozen peas in the freezer, and I wrapped it in a towel and held it on my arm. That helped with the pain. But by the time I got to Hatcher Pass, the peas were melting. Besides, I didn’t want to hike around holding a bag of peas onto my arm. So if my arm started to hurt pretty badly, I’d just dip it into this cold mountain stream, and feel blessed relief.
We ate a picnic on the mountain. Without plates. No one remembered to bring plates.
On Instagram, Karli wrote, “Words can’t quite express the way Alaska made me feel. Mixed emotions. Happiness, longing, joy, peace, turmoil…I wanted to sit on the top of a mountain and dream for days.”
And I don’t think I could say it any better than that.
Later that Sunday afternoon, Karli and Sherri took me to the airport in Elaine’s car. I waved goodbye to this majestic place that now held a snippet of my heart.
I’ll be back, Alaska.