Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AKM's Sitka Trees at the Mudflats

Sitka is a magical place.

To be there when it is perfect is beyond most Alaska visual ambrosias. The combination of small-scale urban dignity, tradition, and stunning natural backdrop can be overwhelming.

On my last visit there, I decided to start this blog. Longtime friend John Stein was watching me navigate the web as I researched an issue for Diane Benson. As I scrolled, and John and I talked, he was helpful, bouncing back to me new information, sometimes disagreeing with me on an issue or assessment.

I'd been a longtime commenter at forums and blogs, but wasn't ready to start my own. The conversation with John (he was the Wasilla mayor who Sarah Palin beat in 1996, and was the Stika city administrator in 2007) was part of the first final step. The next day, I sat on a bench in the afternoon sun, down by the northern part of Sitka's waterfront, and contemplated writing for keeps. I looked up at Alexander Baranov.

Neither Baranov nor John Stein provided the solution for me, but they helped. John's help was key.

Anyway, Sitka is a magical place.

I've spent several weeks there over the years. Jeanne Devon's tree picures, taken there this past weekend, are magical. The best tree pictures by Alaska bloggers (that I'm aware of) are by Erin McKittrick, Steve Aufrecht and Jeanne. I miss Dennis Zaki, but we've still got a good tree crew.

AKM's tree pictures are here, at the Mudflats. Here's a sample:


Anonymous said...

What Phil meant to say was that during his last visit to Sitka he decided to come out of the closet and declare his open embrace of his considerable narcissism.

Verily, Ye acolytes and idolizers can now mark on your maps a bench in Sitka, your location for your pilgrimage to the 'magical' site of Phil's origins as a egocentric gas-bag who has declared his omnipotence and disavowed he need provide substance to support his fallacious inventions.


DonLW said...

1:42 Anonymous,
It's pretty ridiculous that you need to assuage your repulsion of Mr. Munger with your belittling comments but don't have the courage or integrity to own your comments.

alaskapi said...

We lost our best eye when Pat Costello hung up his camera to raise his family. JuneauPhotos.com was the best of the best. AKM, Steve,and Erin and Hig do an extraordinary job though... just as you say.
I am glad you chose to start this blog.
To hear that the magic which is Sitka played a part in the decision adds to my appreciation, Southest-centric and snob that I am...
anony@1:42 aside, you add enormous dimension to Alaska's blogging community . So often I realize I fall to the right of you on issues but right square next to you in concern for our community- local, state, federal...

LOL-Speaking of falling to the right of you and anony@1:42, I've never been a proponent of the idea that full freedom necessarily produces true individuals and this one hasn't made it past running around here marking up your walls with crayon...

KaJo said...

This comment has nothing to do with the trees of Sitka, but it IS about a Sitka spruce.

On the north coast of Oregon deep in the coastal forest there was an ancient gigantic Sitka spruce, determined to be between 500 and 750 years old -- which survived all those hundreds of years until the millennial 150-mph windstorm that swept along Oregon's coast in December 2007.

This violent windstorm sent the tree -- in a weakened condition --crashing down.

For those of us who made pilgrimages every so often just to look at this tree and to marvel at its majestic age, it was like a dear friend died.

It's sad to go in to the park now and to see the rubble that remains of the tree -- although, as the Klootchy Creek Sitka Spruce Giant website mentions, it will serve as a nurse tree for seedlings until it eventually becomes part of the earth.

Philip Munger said...


"The tree sprouted from a seed on the forest floor around the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215."

That is one of the amazing things about old, old conifers. I suppose some or the spruce around Sitka were "sprouted from seed" when the Tlingit still ruled the inland seas and coast, from Wrangell to the Copper River.

Anonymous said...

donW spent a few moments 'assuaging' his considerable incomprehension.

A well-indoctrinated acolyte responding with rote.

( oh, yeah, and you get 'extra points' from your boy Phil, donW, for 'registering an anonymous alias. Good boy. )

Outside of Phil believing your alias demonstrates your indulgences towards Phil,

....you thinking you might 'own' your comments because you registered an anonymous alias simply demonstrates the depth of your own willingness to indulge in your delusions of piousness. )

In any case, I can't help noting you had no excuse for Phil's habit of ducking questions about his false framings and duplicitous constructed narratives.


Anonymous said...

alaskapi spent a moment or two preening, (likely in front of a mirror,) imagining what it might be like to play the role of an authority figure and get to shake a finger and go 'tsk tsk'....

alaskapi had nothing when it comes to addressing Phil's habit of ducking questions about his false narratives and deceptive distortions.

Another acolyte. Just as vacuous.


jim said...

Speaking of old trees; about 25 years ago my mom, dad, and I were building a small remote cabin in interior Alaska. Dad and I grabbed one of the 20 foot logs with our tongs and dragged it up the hill to the cabin site. Gosh it was heavy! We looked at the growth rings-- it must have been growing in the shade; the annual rings were paper thin and extremely dense and heavy. I cut off a 3 inch wide chunk and hauled it out for later study. With my magnifying glass I counted the rings on this spruce. It was about 300 years old, born around the time Rembrandt died, about 1685. In 300 years this tree only grew to a diameter of 10 inches! I felt guilty for cutting this tree down although there are still lots more where that came from on the log lot. Unfortunately the cabin lot (and the cabin), on the other side of the river got incinerated by a forest fire in 2004. The only thing left is my little old chunk.

Anonymous said...

Dennis Zaki, lol, don't miss him one bit.

K. Stephen said...

So what's up with the blog? Much ado about nothing it seems; the fate of progressivism everywhere. (Powerful ideas my patooty.) Ballyhoo, ballyhoo, here comes change, here comes progress, blah, blah, blah, blog. Narcissism indeed, blustery indignation notwithstanding. (Own this.)

I'm reminded of Prince Caspian's reply to Gumpas when the slave trading governor indignantly protested the new ruler's command to end the practice. "But that would be putting the clock back," gasped the governor. "Have you no idea of progress, of development?"

"I have seen them both in a egg," said Caspian. "We call it 'Going Bad' in Narnia."

Fie on progressivism! Put the clock back to an ethos that works! Sarah 2012!