What an incredible week of spectacular weather. This already makes up for last year’s non-summer. But, like all Juneauites, I want more. So I don’t want to jinx this year’s ‘sum..m’ by talking about and wishing for it too much. This is because I can remember exactly where I was a year ago to the date. All I wanted for my birthday celebration was a sucker hole. I was denied by the persistent grey weather.
However, this summer is not to be denied!
Isn’t it great to see Juneau at full play? Sailboats on the channel, fishermen perched on the rocks, bicyclers out in force, longboarders on the street. Already this week I’ve been hiking and kayaking. However, when I am not playing, I’m sitting in my garden as late as I can; enjoying the rush of colors brought on by my “English Garden.” Like homes on tiny lots in England, I have a small landscaped garden that looks out on the street where I visit with my neighbors walking by. It’s a wonderful time of connection. As the English say with such conviction and pitch, “It’s all quite lovely.” So much so that I sometimes find it hard to be anywhere else.
However, I did get motivated to seize the moment when I discovered the cabin at Cowee Meadows was available this week. Soon my slice of garden repose was outdone by perhaps one of the loveliest gardens in all Southeast… Cowee Meadows. The iris, lupine, chocolate lilies, shooting stars, sweet pea, nagoon berries and germanium were all out and rather than bloom from nice landscaped plots these flowers captivated large fields framed by rugged mountains… simply grand. And instead of visiting with people, I walked over to the beach to watch whales, seals and eagles go by like the neighbors on my street. Peaceful. Friendly.
From my decades of living in Juneau, I know that it these quiet moments of splendor, of connection to all my neighbors that rejuvenate my soul. It is vital to my ‘keep on keeping on’ whether it is a column to write, a dinner to make or meetings to attend; these connections of peaceful moments get me there.
While your spot and activity may differ, I think you will agree that these full sun rejuvenation times are to be treasured. Knowing this, I could not send in the first column I wrote. It is a serious column about a serious topic. It will keep. This is a time to be light and joyful. To be in the moment of sun.
The eagles began to dive for fish, loudly screeching in delight. The seals let their curiosity bring them in close to shore; to be with me. In a nearby stand of alders, songbirds greet the evening light. Taking all this in I found myself blurting out Etta James’ classic, “At Last.” Yes, sing it bold and piercing like Etta James… a-a-t l-a-a-s-st. At last summer is here!
Oops, I almost forgot, I don’t want this to be all of summer… just the start. So my advice is to go online, play the song, step outside and sing “At Last.”
If you have Googled the lyrics you may discover that if you change just two words in the first stanza the lyrics work for this summer:
“At last (replace ‘my love’ with) the sun has come along
My (replace ‘lonely’ with) grey days are over
And life is like a song.”
The next line needed no editing.
“At last the skies are blue.”
Keep on playing Juneau. The serious column will follow.
• Troll is a long-time Alaskan with more than 22 years of experience in fisheries, coastal policy and energy policy. She resides in Douglas.