|May 17||Fairbanks to Denali||193|
As is to be expected when one has patience and loving connection, the person who is a source of frustration one day becomes the root of satisfaction the next.
We awoke to daylight again. It seems to not ever get really dark. Fairbanks is only about 130 miles from the Arctic Circle, and the summer days are lengthening. We must live by the clock. We did laundry, which gave us time to sit and read while the washer did its stuff. During the laundry, I saw a helicopter take off from the field across the lake. Strange birds they. So many gyroscopic motions to keep in balance. Ted took charge of the laundry-did most of the folding w/o telling me it was there to do.
We then went to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks museum. They had many interesting exhibits about the history of Alaska, geology, zoology, etc. There was a sobering exhibit tracing the history of the internment camps for Japanese and Aleut peoples during WWII. The way we treated these people was shameful. I'm glad their story is being told. As is told in the act to fund this project, "We need to tell this story so future governments will think twice before taking a similar course of action." I bought a native print and some jade/mammoth ivory earrings for Sherry.
We then located the university library to use the Internet. I felt at home in the University library. Ted was uneasy. After sending some email, we sauntered over to the bookstore. I picked up a T-shirt that Ted insisted on buying. At this time, we went back to the camp to check on some clothes we hung out to dry. Lunched at The Pumproom. Great enchilada. Viewed a bowl factory, the pipeline. At the pipeline, we talked for some minutes to a guy working there; he had just read Brave New World. He was going back to school for anthropology after 12 years in computers.
We found a Post Office so that I could mail some prints back to Sherry. I'd rather not have to worry about them getting crushed. We then set off for Denali.
I was sad when we left Fairbanks. For the last 8 days we've been heading North--North To Alaska--now we wind inexorably South. All my life I've looked North. Moving to Chicago, going to GA twice may not seem to indicate it, but I long for the North. The cool temperatures in which I am most comfortable, the crisp air, the harsh weather. Snow. Wind. Fur. For the first time I've headed to the North & now must return. I've been given a taste but not a meal of the finest preparation. I've experienced enough to be awed but not enough for it to be in me. Today feels like an ending even though there are 17 days left. The compass will now read "S" and we'll be heading the same direction that everyone seems to travel when life is coming to an end.
Well, actually the compass may still read N. It hasn't worked since we started.
We arrived in Denali to find our campground closed. In fact, 80% of the place is closed. Ted forced me to accept a hotel for 2-two-nights. Tomorrow we will drive back 30 miles on the park road. Friday we head for Anchorage. It is 11pm and still light.
"The road goes ever on and on,