Libraries have always held a special place for me in communities large and small all over the world—attending language school in Chile, teaching in Indonesia, on many college campuses (all of my own and where my husband attended school). The Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is where I scheduled meetings with my PhD advisor countless times and probably will again in the final phases of dissertation completion. The phrase, “Let’s meet on floor 2, outside the Oral History room,” is one of the most memorable from the entire process. Financially, libraries have been essential because of the thousands of books cited for my thesis and dissertation, dozens more for academic papers and journal articles and hundreds more just for personal entertainment for family and myself. If purchased, all of those would have added substantially to the cost of my education and I would need another room in my house! The books already take up the most space.
My own visual memories of Togiak are not much more than a slate of wide, open grey sky that merged into open grey water. In the early 2000s, I flew out from Homer with a spotter pilot, landed on the beach in the community and then probably took a skiff from the beach to go out to meet my dad’s boat, F/V Agave. At the time, I was certainly not taking notes or paying attention to location details but what I do remember is bleak, grey, bland, flat land. The landscape was nothing like the mountains in south central and south east Alaska, I just recall bleakness. I never had the opportunity to explore the magic features of seeking out glass floats washed from across the Pacific, looking for ivory, exploring the shorelines. I went out to simply fish and retrieve my own juvenile income, not to recall anything else. That was not enough to provide a credible nostalgia of what it was like to fish out there in the peak of the alluring, crazy, chaotic competition combined with a visual recollection of stoic, stark, rural Alaska.
The pool echoes with excitement as soon as families hustle in for American Red Cross morning lessons. It is a busy place. There are three groups each morning and just as one session finishs up and a new one rushes in and huddles in a line on the bench at the shallow end of the pool.
What do you hear when the tide rushes in or deviously trickles out? A soothing change of pace? A familiar and eternal breath of ebb and flow? Our location, perched on Alaska’s wild coast, encourages creative interpretation in many ways.
This creative flux inspires the Wild Shore Festival for New Music. This summer the Bunnell Street Arts Center presents the third annual festival from Aug. 5-11. Audiences can explore inspired new music and delve into the creative process through composing, handling instruments and playing with sonic possibilities.
Summer is almost here and there is a very obvious tension on the Kenai Peninsula related to the role of salmon in local communities and how to qualify what that role is among different user groups.
Yes, we eat a lot of fish here and the availability of salmon to anglers is important. Salmon is a fabulous source of food, superb nutritional value. Everyone should eat it. However, to suggest that it is a real subsistence product for anglers is questionable.