Catching up–Volume 2: Alaska

ALASKA

ALASKA

I am completely unworthy to describe or comment on what I saw in Alaska.  Its magnificence and power must be seen to be truly appreciated; words and even photographs do not come close to doing it justice.  I will try to provide both, however, simply because I was so moved by the experience.

My family chose an Alaskan cruise instead of a Caribbean one because we prefer colder temperatures.  I know, I know, why do we live in Georgia with its 100 degree temperatures and 90% humidity?  Because Life has a sense of humor.  Anyway, we decided to go where Kevin could wear his favorite flannel shirts every day and fit in, and where Brian could get a little more life out of his hoodies and letter jacket.

Our first stop was Seattle which was a lot of fun.  Playing tourist to the hilt, we took in the Museum of Flight, Pike Street Market, and the Space Needle.  We ate some good seafood and had a surprisingly good meal experience at Icon.  We also discovered the Top Pot Doughnut shop, which we liked so well we made a return visit on the following Sunday before we returned home.

Pike Street Market, Seattle

Pike Street Market, Seattle

On to Alaska…

We knew we had arrived near the top of the world when we saw snow-capped peaks off the stern of our ship.  Snow in June?  We had come to the right place!

Snow in June

Snow in June

Giving a play-by-play will take up far too much space, so let me just skip to Glacier Bay.  As we sailed into this unusual national park–unlike the Smoky Mountains or Washington DC for example–time stopped.  The water was glass, hardly moving as our bow cut through, and it reflected the sky and mountains above it so perfectly that it was hard to tell which was solid and which illusion.  Some of the pictures on my cell phone came through upside down, and the icy water looked like a starry sky above the vivid reflection of the mountains, while the actual, solid land appeared to be the watery illusion.

Which end is up?

Which end is up?

This picture in its proper way:

This is the right way.

This is the right way.

I had fallen into Wonderland.

In this place I discovered what “real” construction is.  Glaciers are the true earth movers, making our bulldozers look like toys in the sandbox.  Where they have receded, where they continue to recede, the water fills in causing the bay to become larger and the shore smaller, not in eons but in months, weeks and even days.  The thunder that warns of cracking ice dropping into the sea and filling the bay with floating islands of solid water makes a person understand how truly small and fleeting a human life is in the great scheme of things.  Because this is the Great Scheme of Things. Ice fields the size of cities rolling in an out like waves on the sand, but instead of flattening sandcastles, they move mountains.

Marjorie Glacier rising out of the mist

Marjorie Glacier rising out of the mist

With humans for size reference--we are still relatively far away

With humans for size reference–we are still relatively far away

And so in Alaska I came to truly understand that everything I see around me everyday is truly the product of Fire and Ice. I saw volcanoes creating islands in Hawaii and now I have seen glaciers move and carve the earth in Alaska.

Makes me wonder why I ever worry about sitting in traffic or mowing the grass.  There are far bigger forces at work in the world than I can ever, ever hope to control.  Maybe it is best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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