31 Aug 2015 3 Comments
31 Aug 2015 Leave a comment
31 Aug 2015 3 Comments
31 Aug 2015 Leave a comment
R.I.P., Dr. Dyer…
31 Aug 2015 12 Comments
in Uncategorized, Various Topics Tags: 2015, Alaska, Denali, finally, First Nations, formative years, home state, honour, indigenous peoples, myriad musings, original, Pacific Northwest, President Obama, rain, random ramblings, sepultura13, storms, weather
This weekend has been quite eventful, weatherwise! From the Pacific Northwest, to Hawai’i and the Gulf states; from the Bahamas, to the ‘Greater Antilles’ and the ‘West Indies’ …it has been windy, wet, wild and deadly. We didn’t lose power here on the coast, but some of the cities near Puget Sound did.
President Obama is in my home state of Alaska on a 3-day trip, and this part of it makes my heart sing – he plans to restore the name of Mount Denali. From Al-Jazeera:
“President Barack Obama will change the name of North America’s tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White House said Sunday, bestowing the traditional Alaska Native name on the eve of a historic presidential visit to Alaska.
By renaming the peak Denali, an Athabascan word meaning “the high one,” Obama is wading into a sensitive and decades-old conflict between residents of Alaska and Ohio. Alaskans have informally called the 20,320-foot mountain Denali for years, but the federal government recognizes its name evoking the 25th president, William McKinley, who was born in Ohio and assassinated early in his second term.
“With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
The announcement came as Obama prepared to depart early Monday on a three-day visit to Alaska, becoming the first sitting president to travel north of the Arctic Circle. As part of his visit, Obama is attempting to show solidarity with Alaska Natives, and planned to hold a round-table session with a group of Alaska Natives just after arriving Monday in Anchorage.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who had pushed legislation for years to change the name, said Alaskans were “honored” to recognize the mountain as Denali — a change in tone for the Alaska Republican, who had spoken out against Obama’s energy policies in anticipation of his visit to her state.”
I was born in the state of Washington, where I currently reside, but I consider myself an Alaskan. My family moved there when I was 3 years of age, and my schooling and formative years were spent there – I moved to the “lower 48” in my 20s. So many memories, though – good, bad, ugly and indifferent. I met my first husband there. My son was born there. I’ve “driven” the Alaska Marine Highway. We’ve been through Yukon Territory, driving along the Al-Can (Alaska / Canada) Highway. Moose and mosquitoes, wolves and bear, salmon and sea lions. Living on a boat. Deer carcass hanging in a smokehouse…fresh venison on the table. Totem poles. Dancing and singing in a longhouse.
I know that climate change exists. The Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau looked vastly changed in July of 2012, horribly shrunken and dirty-looking compared to its gleaming splendor when I first saw it on a trip with the Girl Scouts in August of 1978. Back then, it was huge…the cold air that blew from it was amazing to feel. Massive, icy edifice. There were no chunks of it floating in the waters nearby, then. The pictures I took of it in 2012 clearly show how much recession has occurred…and that saddens me.
I’ll close with the song that always played on the radio during the midnight sign-off – “Alaska’s Flag,” the state song. Here are the lyrics, if you want to sing along.
Eight stars of gold on a field of blue – Alaska’s flag, may it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky – the mountain lakes and the flow’rs nearby
The gold of the early sourdough’s dream – the precious gold of the hills and streams
The gleam of the stars in the northern sky – The Bear, The Dipper, and shining high
The great North Star with its steady light, o’er land and sea a beacon bright
Alaska’s Flag to Alaskans dear…the symbol flag of the Last Frontier.
30 Aug 2015 10 Comments
30 Aug 2015 1 Comment
30 Aug 2015 Leave a comment
A little bit of truth on this fine, Sunday morning…
Originally posted on The Fifth Column:
It wasn’t easy to prepare this report from Addicting Info. Not at all…
A couple of years, ago a young man name Trayvon Martin was walking home from a convenience store after picking up some Skittles and iced tea. Then, as he strolled towards his father’s house, an insecure and paranoid creep named George Zimmerman decided to stalk the young man. Zimmerman phoned the police, because he didn’t like the sight of a young African-American man walking through his neighborhood. And, not trusting the police, he decided to follow Martin even after being instructed not to by the emergency operator.
Zimmerman then confronted Martin while carrying a gun. Martin, likely fearing for his life, not knowing whether to fight or flight, seemingly decided to fight back. This provocation by Zimmerman to get Martin to fight back also apparently gave the gun-toter permission to shoot the young man and kill…
View original 417 more words
29 Aug 2015 Leave a comment
Tur’a sits near the water’s edge, lost in thought as she inspects her gear and provisions. Ildris, her sister, had given her the directions to this quiet sanctuary away from the battlefield – it is welcomed during this rare lull in the fighting. It is a tiny, one-story shack near a pond, which appears abandoned and derelict from the outside. It is merely a magical illusion: the interior belies its humble exterior, and those who are unaware of the place would pass it by, thinking it to be nothing more than just another burnt-out building, long-deserted by those who used to dwell within.
Her panther lolls lazily nearby, fat and happy from his most recent kill and subsequent gorging. He lays flat on his back, forepaws in air and hindquarters splayed, purring loudly with closed eyes. Tur’a chuckles at the big cat’s undignified pose, and relaxes as well. When he is that carefree, she knows that danger is far away and she need not worry of an ambush. Because of this, she has removed the heavy armour that she is usually clad in. The afternoon sun feels delicious on Tur’a’s exposed skin: she wears a corseted shirt with short sleeves; elbow-length, fingerless gloves, loose-fitting linen trousers, and light sandals on her feet. A light meal of bread, cheese, and smoked fish fills her belly. Her lute and journal are at her right side as she relaxes at the base of an oak tree.
Her freshly-washed tabard hangs on the clothesline nearby, gleaming wetly in the light of the afternoon sun. Each piece of her armour is laid out in proper order, as she was taught from childhood. The heavy helm that usually covers her face is in her lap as she sits with legs crossed. Her thoughts are deep at the moment, and she needs to be away from everyone – family, friends, and guild-mates – to sort them properly. She is happy that Mother, Sister Ildris, and Brother’s wife, Sonja, understand her need for solitude during these times. For some reason, the men-folk are unable to respect those basic needs, so none of them have been told of this place.
Tur’a looks down at the helm, lightly touching the massive, curved horns and the small row of spikes leading from brow to nape. A smile softens her features as she thinks of the one who crafted it for her. “Where have you gone?” she whispers to herself. “It’s been too long, my love…” Her vision blurs and she wipes tears away. Confusion – she hates being hurt and tries not to show her feelings. Other than her family, he was there for her after she was disgraced by the necromancer. He was tender, and seemed to care, then vanished without a word. Tur’a wonders if he met with some ill fate when he returned to his homeland of swamps, or if he met a scaled female of his own kind and is tending to a clutch of leathery eggs with her. If he is, she wishes him the best…but it still stings. She didn’t expect to have any deep feelings for anyone after her ordeal.
She sets the helm aside and picks up her journal, which has an iridescent quill marking her page, and prepares to jot down some notes for the fourth-in-command of her guild. Chunga the Great has expressed a desire for promotion, and wants to recruit more to the guild, so Tur’a needs to ask him some pertinent questions beforehand. She likes the small, familial feel of the guild as it is, and doesn’t want to disturb it; however, a larger guild would help her achieve a goal she had never considered before: being crowned the Empress of these besieged lands.
She stares at the pages, her mind drifting…it is difficult to focus her thoughts, when they keep turning to him. Water dripping from scales. Swimming under the light of the twin moons. A thick tail slapping her bottom as they writhe in the light of a campfire…
“Bah!” she exclaims, putting the journal aside. She grabs her flask of mead and drinks deeply, then gazes morosely at the sun’s reflection on the water. Concentration is impossible at the moment. The panther rolls lazily over, mildly startled at her outburst. He wanders over, butting her in the shoulder with his head and sitting at her left side. She scratches his ears and under his chin. “It’s funny,” she murmurs, “If the moons were in different phases, you would be able to walk upright and talk…you would be like Sister’s Dar.” The big cat chuffs and grumbles as if he were laughing at her. “I know – I’m silly, aren’t I?” she asks. A swat of his tail on her face is the answer. “Understood!” Tur’a says, laughing as well. “Fair enough. Still, it would be nice if I had some sort of sign from the gods and goddesses. Do I wait for him, or do I take what I’ve been offered?” She thinks of Baragon, the red-haired elf with the gunmetal skin. He is pleasant to be around, but her feelings for him are purely platonic – he is more like a sibling or a good friend, not one she wants to share her bedroll with. She stares at the water as the panther wanders to the edge of the pond to drink.
Screeee…Tur’a looks up as a falcon circles overhead. She watches it curiously as it glides lower. It alights on a branch of the oak, looks at her for a moment, then drops a small parcel. Tur’a picks up the remaining bits of fish and slowly creeps over to pick up the parcel, carefully replacing it with the fish. The falcon glides down and attacks the meat, eyeing Tur’a and the panther warily as it re-settles itself on the branch.
Tur’a turns the parcel over in her hands slowly, curiously, wondering what it could be. She unties the knot – the parcel unrolls, and a small chunk of stone falls. She snatches it out of the air before it hits the ground and clutches it tightly, looking at the words scrawled on the bit of parchment: “My dear Tur’a – I apologize for not communicating sooner. I erect the spines of shame and consternation if you have been worried, but I took it upon myself to avenge your outrage. I know that you would have tried to stop me if I told you of my intent. Enclosed you will find the last piece of the crystal that was used to bind you to the necromancer’s will. Fear no longer – he shall not haunt your dreams again. If you are well, send the bird back to me with your token and I will find you. Know that you have not left my thoughts, and my scales will be forever dry if you have met with some ill fate. Our roots are forever entwined. Yours in this world and beyond – Gor.”
“Oh…” Tura’s tears of joy flow unbidden…she can barely see the dark, heavy hunk of obsidian that she still clutches in her hand. The big cat runs back to her side, sniffing at the parchment and the stone, gazing at his mistress with feral concern and intensity. “He returned,” she whispers hoarsely. “He came back…” She rips a page from her journal and quickly scribbles a reply, then rummages through her pack for a trinket to send. Her hand closes on a small, round object adorned with feathers – it is the token he speaks of. Carefully and lovingly, she wraps it in the page and ties it with a fresh string of spun ironweed. As the falcon finishes its feeding, Tur’a tunes up her lute and begins to play a song:
“My love, my love, he waits for me
Across hostile land and stormy sea
I run to him and together we
Sway as we kiss, sway as we kiss…”
29 Aug 2015 Leave a comment
There’s a big, beautiful moon out there…so here are three songs to get everybody dancing in the moonlight! Enjoy…