Place Where You Live:

Seward, Alaska

Seward Love

I stand on the ridge of Bear Mountain. One last adventure before I leave. Though it took me only an hour to climb to this spot, tiny Seward now seems a world away.

I’ve stood in this very place dozens of times, and perhaps it’s the knowing-I’m-leaving-glasses I have on today, but everything looks different this morning.

I can see the park, the post office, the coffeehouse, my apartment. From this perspective, town’s perfectly-laid-out grid seems out-of-place and uncreative in comparison to the wild surrounds. Boats come and go from the harbor. At the head of the bay, expansive mudflats indicate low tide.

To the north, Mt. Marathon seems close enough to touch. Across the bay, Mt. Alice stands more glorious than ever, with a fresh dusting of snow. South, and into foreverness, the vast Pacific Ocean.

I feel enormously tiny standing alone up here.

And, it hits me – I live here. Though I’ve had this thought a million times, this time it resonates on some primal level. I suddenly feel overwhelmingly blessed to be part of such a magical place. Unexpected tears of a complex nature – gratitude, love, joy, sadness – spring from my deepest being.

As if to acknowledge my emotional prasad, or perhaps to remind me that this is real life, I suddenly hear an unusual sound, a whooshing. I look up as a bald eagle comes screaming over the ridge. I feel a rush of wind (and adrenaline) as the massive bird whizzes by.

At the end of the road – where mountains and ice meet the sea, where humpback whales frolic in the midnight sun, and where bald eagles appear out of nothingness – sometimes Seward seems unreal, like a place that doesn’t or can’t or shouldn’t exist. Except maybe in the most awesome fairy tales.

I watch the eagle disappear, and my mind wanders. I wonder what this place will look like when I return. What will I look like? Will we – me, the eagle, Seward – recognize one another?

Then I remember, we are one another.