Monday, March 10, 2008
It was evening when they arrived,
the first dark form emerged
from the lip of one of many pools
collected on the ice in this too-
warm weather. I looked out and down
from our cabin window, caught
the movement and the tall shape,
thought What strange animal
is this? before it registered: human.
Unaccustomed to company this time
of year, I was trying to construe
what coyote, wolf, or bear could have transformed
into a biped. Later, the months of sweat
in their clothes and boots mingling
with the scent of soggy leather,
after they’d showered, fed,
and spoken of their long and strenuous trek
—by raft, by skis, Seattle
northward: B.C., Southeast, over
rivers, Icy Bay, past glaciers,
the Copper Delta, into the Chugach;
Manker Creek, then Anchorage,
around the arm, down
the west side of Cook Inlet,
through Lake Clark Pass, to us—
What, I asked, had been
the least appealing?
The Glenn Highway, they said.
They told me they could smell the road—
asphalt, rubber—long before it could be heard.
They were ancient animals arisen,
speaking a troubling, modern tongue.
--- Anne Coray
This might be the first fine work of art by a truly great Alaska artist about erin and hig's trek. I've told them I hope to write some music about their journey. I do hope Anne doesn't mind my posting this wonderful creation of hers here before I could ask. Maybe she'll sic her brother on me.