Letting the mind wander

Inspiration can sure take its damn time. You could be sitting there looking at a blank screen, or white canvas, or any number of things. And there is nothing.

Step away to take a shower or walk through the woods. BAM! Inspiration hits.

Wandering minds can be good for you. You should embrace mental meandering. There is no finish line. Just a long path leading here and there.

Quest for anomaly

A little over a month ago I took a pre-employment drug test. I went through my steps, emptying my pockets and providing a sample. I initial my vials and then stepped into the main office. At this point, the nurse looked at the paperwork and saw what the pre-employment test was for.

“Alaska? It’s too cold outside here now.” It was probably mid-fifties in Florida, about twenty to thirty degrees warmer than I’ve been getting.

It wasn’t just the weather that stopped her, of course living in Florida she was definitely used to warmth. But Alaska was far. I realized then that if people were surprised by what you were doing, you were probably doing something pretty interesting.

I’m certain it’s not too interesting for Alaskans who work in Alaska. Mark Adams, in Tip of the Iceberg, writes, “Three basic types of people live in Alaska… There are Native Alaskans, who’ve been there since time immemorial. There are people coo have come north running toward something, usually a chance to do something unpleasant to male a lot of money quickly… And there are those who are running away from something.”

But if you’re hardy enough to make a living up here, you’re accepted in Alaska. it’s a different brand of the American Dream, though offered from the same manufacturer. And to many who reside in the lower 48, it’s just anomalous enough to be an interesting way of life.

Into hiding

One could make a case for now being a great time to hide. There’s certainly a lot to hide from.

What I find interesting is that many of us are being faced with ourselves in a way that we aren’t accustomed to. We’re mostly locked down, unable to do those things we’ve grown used to doing – such as eating out, grabbing a drink in a bar, maybe attending a movie or a show or a sporting event.

We look at ourselves, and wonder, “Now what?”

But apart from the safety we seek, we’re able to look inward in a way that our lifestyle may have been preventing. Wherever you go, that’s where you are.

It isn’t a good time to hide. It’s a good time to find yourself.

Weekly Rundown

All about Ketchikan, Volume 3.

Alaska, like much of the Country, has pretty much shut down. Bars, restaurants, the company I was working for. However, I’m fortunate to have a number of trails to explore within walking distance.

Rainbird Trail: Scenic views and a hilly wooded path, this two-and-a-half-mile walk provides a look at the Tongass Narrows and Gravina and Pennock Islands. While moving through the forest, there is a selection of spruce, cedar, hemlock, and pine trees to observe in their tree-fulness.

Rainbird View
View from Rainbird Trail overlook spot

 

Deer Mountain Trail: A significantly more strenuous hike than Rainbird, and currently covered in snow at an elevation of about one mile from the base, it on;y went part of the way up. Deer Mountain is described as “Ketchikan’s iconic and idyllic backdrop.

Deer Mountain in cloudy weather
A view up from the base of Deer Mountain

Deer Mountain Clearing
Snowy pass up the Deer Mountain Trail

 

Several other locations are within driving distance (only some 30 miles of highway move up the Western coast of Revilla Island), and these include Carlanna Lake Trail, Ward Lake and Perseverance Lake Trail, and the Coast Guard Beach Trail.

I only briefly headed down to Ward Lake, but anticipate further hiking over the weekend. The weather has turned sunny, while still hovering between thirty and forty degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Disconnected

There’s an element of misunderstanding for many of us during this time of crisis. Most of us, I expect, would rather be working, if we are among the millions now unemployed, furloughed, or stranded somewhere. If the work is front line work, in the hospitals, for instance, it’s scary work. Scary, but meaningful. Life-saving is always meaningful.

Then there are others, fortunate to work from home, or less fortunate but still required to work – delivery-service who may run the risk of infection from the job,

There’s information, there’s misinformation, and there’s fear. The fear is what gets at the heart of it. A fear that’s been creeping into the Country long before the virus emerged. A fear that life, as it was before, will never be seen again.

It’s the fear of men and women who don’t know what the new normal looks like, and the fear of younger generations who don’t know what the new ‘new normal’ will look like. We’ve been heading down this path for a while, with shifting populations, immigration ebbing and flowing, social preferences and liberalities altering on a seemingly daily basis.

What all of this should tell us is that: There is no certainty. We could fight so hard for the  America we remember as children, to restore it to what we view as its former glory, only to have even that which we’ve come to know replaced by an unexpected epidemic.

New normals will inevitably come, to be again replaced by something newer. We shouldn’t grip so tightly onto the past that we don’t savor the present. Because something could be waiting around the corner to shake the present loose, and we might like what comes after even less.

Finding that “thing”

We all want to find that one thing we’re good at. That alignment between our persona; mission and work that is fulfilling. But you know what? Chances are we’re not the first person to have done it. There’s been a lot of people doing a lot of things throughout history. Even now, nearing 8 billion people, there are only so many “things” that can be done.

But no one can do your thing like you can. No one has the same you-ness that makes your contribution value. Not finding it, that deprives the world of what you were here to offer.

As Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return to Love: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”