In less than a week I’ll be heading back home. With all the visiting, this trip has been a rare treat in that I was able to reconnect with family and friends I’d not seen in years – and I’m glad I took the entire month to do it in. Now, however, I’m ready to get back to the Interior and plan the fall hunting trip, get moved into the new homestead, and start looking toward winter. Funny how the longest day of the year comes and goes and suddenly summer is on the wane in my mind. I like anticipating the cold season. I like the weather, I like the light, I like the winter attitudes and goings-on of those who go about their daily lives in the minus-temperatures. I find more and more that my creativity is centered around winter, probably because it focuses me on survival and coping with the elements, making the best preparations for what lies ahead.
For the time being, my sole ambition is to get through Canada and back on American soil. Crossing the border always comes with a sense of relief, of being back in familiar territory, although if I step one foot over the line and look back, the scenery is identical to that in front of me. It’s a state of mind, this disconcerted feeling of being in a foreign land when I leave the greater U.S. and venture into the ‘hood of our northern neighbors. It’s unsettling to think I might do something untoward and be detained, caught up in a system I know nothing about, far away and expensive should I require assistance of some kind. It’s a serious consideration, something beyond a 2- to 3-day drive through awesome scenery, vast solitude, and friendly people. Something about being someplace other than my own country is uncomfortable. No wonder I have no desire to travel the world. When I was in high school my family went to Europe. We visited France and England, German, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Beautiful, no doubt about that, but I remember realizing I wasn’t really appreciating the opportunity and looking forward to getting back to America. I feel the same way now, only I’ve identified a strong preference to remain on patriotic soil.
I’m looking forward to Tok, to passing the turn-off to Eagle and Chicken; I might even venture that direction for the heck of it. I’ll stop in Glenallen to say hi to friends and catch up on the past year’s worth of work and life, and then follow the road northward to home. I hear the skeeters are about tolerable now, so it was a good month to be gone. It’ll be even better to be home.