Oct. 23rd, 2009 10:28 pm
spiralflames: (scenery)

alaska: glacier and lake2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

dr today.
z-pac and codeine cough medicine...zzzzzzzzzzz
glad i went to dr- every time i *make a decision* rather than feeling hopeless, i quit feeling so damn depressed and alone.

PS have a glacier :-D

big poppa

Aug. 20th, 2009 06:07 pm
spiralflames: (lifeguard)

here's a current webcam shot of mt denali. this is the clearest i've ever seen him- not only does he only show a few days a year, but this current view is clearer and brighter than their screenshot that shows what he looks like when he's having a Good Peak day. goddess, but i miss alaska.
spiralflames: (scenery)
ok, so there are 5 of them and they're not under a cut. have i bitched when people post the "50,000 random things about ME?" memes? i have not....ok, here we go.

the first is of the taiga and the stalwart, small spruces, fully grown at 3-5 feet, that push through the permafrost and stand their ground in the face of denali's foot-hills. you go, little dudes.

denali NP taiga, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

the next one is the amazing landscape of rainforest- trees covered in moss, 100% humidity, lush growth (which results in 250 inches of snow in the winter, ah well) near port of valdez, port william sound.

worthington glacier, receding.

port of valdez cruise12, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

boats large and small boldly leaving port of valdez in absolute fog white-out.

valdez harbor, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

and here are the foothills of mt.drum on the wrangell range, near glennallen. you can JUST barely make out a bit of the actual mt drum along the back..he declined to move his weather system out of the way for a full view, the bastard.

mt. drum2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

this place is in my spirit and in my blood, but i don't know if i'd be strong enough to live there.
spiralflames: (Default)

good morning. i just HAD to post the webcam view of talkeetna air taxi's mt denali webcam..the mountain's not only showing this morning (rare b/c it carries its own weather system, the bitch) but bathed in pale pink as the morning sun hits it. words fail.
spiralflames: (healing_chakra)

port of valdez2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

where mountain, cloud, bird, water, glacier, boat and spirit are one.


Jan. 17th, 2009 11:18 pm
spiralflames: (trees)
port of valdez- boat into fog
*car needed a front-end alignment and *2* new front tires- evidently the pieces of STEEL (of the 'steel-belted radials") were broken off and PROTRUDING FROM THE RUBBER. thank you, miserable quality of roads in winter. i could have easily blown a tire at full speed at -35 degrees and literally frozen to death waiting for a tow truck to come. thank you, goddess, for getting me to the repair shop before crisis.

*it's the End Times, kids. evidently, today IT IS COLDER IN ALABAMA THAN IT IS IN ALASKA. What. The. Hell. meanwhile, it's flippin' balmy here- 19 above today. i had to quell the urge to wear a sun-dress.

*lovely conversation w/ a 10-yr-old student today. we planned his future..he wants to be a 5th grade teacher, part time computer repair person, part time piano teacher. i said that was a wonderful and attainable future. :-D

*today, amazing sensuality. i am so damn fortunate to have this man in my life.

*tonight, drum circle at Pathways. profound quiet, calm and gentleness. what a gift.

to quote lovely e.e., "i thank You God/for most this amazing day."
spiralflames: (freedom)

let's have a few alaska photos this afternoon as i look out of the coffeeshop window..the one that's frozen ON THE INSIDE..and contemplate that today, the weather here is about 30 degrees (50 if you consider windchill) LOWER than fairbanks, alaska, where the high temp there today is a balmy 23F- ABOVE zero. evidently it hasn't been this cold here in five years. small consolation, that.

i'm thinking that about 10 yrs from now i'd like to move to alaska. i need to figure out where i might spend my old age- and once my parents go, i'll be without a support net. kim and her girls up there would be a support net for me- i could see being a piano teacher and court-appointed mediator up there as well as here. gotta think about where i might consider wanting to grow old, and who might be around when that happens. a bit sobering, but good to think that there might be an amazing and hopeful option.

spiralflames: (nature)
taiga in denali NP
could i have possibly forgotten how amazing alaska is? these photos came up this evening when i was looking through some things on my flickr site and they blew me away. and if they blew me away 4x6, how did my entire cells not explode when i was actually SEEING those clouds, those mountains, those taiga trees? i think somehow 90% of our brain shuts down when something truly astounding is experienced- otherwise the perception literally would cause your spirit to explode into billions of fragments. how do we let in more of what's out there? if we allow it, will our minds stop before they're broken? is this what happens to shamans and seers? is this what happens when we die?

taiga4, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (lifeisgood)

weather oddness in denali NP2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

today's first photo goes without description. big sky. i miss it. the second, however, is from a side-trip we took out into the country where a person has decided that he or she really can't part with his stuff. any of it. ever. gotta love alaska- as long as it doesn't kill anyone else (and perhaps not even then)'s your yard, go for it.

excellent practice yesterday- schubert songs learned, initial run-through of the poulenc _elegie_, work on the poulenc oboe sonata. i hope i can get lorelei to slow it down's sexier than i remembered :-D. tonight i meet New Young Soprano to see if there's a musical kinship. if she seems wonderful, then i'll see if it's too late to get us a gig somewhere this season- my May 1 concert is really full- almost too full- of tunes now.

my mom's done with her physical therapy and is feeling pretty spry. the PT was constantly amazed at the exercises she could do, and how flexible she was, for age 82. et moi? i get to go BACK TO SWIMMING tonight. today, check-up for new contacts (i am loving them), and tomorrow a 6-month check by baby endocrinologist to see how the ex-thyroid's doing. it's pleasant having medical down-graded to occasional maintenance rather than a part-time job. (miracles abounden)

and life is good, if i haven't reminded either of us in the last 10 minutes or so...

trash trailer, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (obscure)

port of valdez, alaska.
mid-afternoon, cloudy skies, no rain, no other lights in view.
notice happy spirit orbs.
that whole town is haunted, in my view.
spiralflames: (wise_words)
following are 2 black-and-white photos. the first is a native american cemetery near glennallan, AK. the above-ground "spirit houses" happened years ago when natives didn't bury their dead below ground. in modern times, they build a fence around each grave and leave objects and offerings that the dead person might enjoy as he travels to the Happy Hunting Ground.

[[[[[vacation? fabulous. having a piano student throw her arms around me today and say "i am SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU!!!" ?? priceless.]]]]]

one more under here )
spiralflames: (fortune)
good afternoon.

still adjusting to central time (i want to sleep too late, but some of that might be just fighting this bronchial thing.) i am reminded what a lovely city minneapolis is--so many trees. after fairbanks, where the trees are all tall and sparse, it seems like i'm living under a canopy. the green is pretty and lush- it's what i'm used to. but i have become addicted to sky. lots of it. stretching far.

this first photo is from the drive south from anchorage, down the seward highway, towards portage glacier.

seward highway, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

this next one is from the rainbow mountains, when i was adjusting to the weather literally changing from cloudless and sunlit to low clouds and rain- the large mountains have their own weather systems or either kick the rain back or keep it out.

rainbow mts, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

today's final one is another misty morning in valdez, the rain forest. amazing.

valdez morning in port, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (solitude)

wednesday, we drove 357 miles from fairbanks to anchorage (left kim's house at 9 AM, arrived anchorage 5:30 PM). i then waited for 4 hours, then flew (yeah, i know, *I* didn't.. give me a break, i'm on meds) 5 hours. i plopped into my happy OWN bed at 8:30 thurs AM. slept for a few hours, got up. had to finally admit that i was sick, and that it was serious. (went to dr today, am on z-pac- ear infection and bronchitis.) last night i woke up and was a bit disoriented... actually thought "wow..this place has the same pictures on the wall that MY room has!" i started getting scared until i realized that it WAS my room.

i will be pondering, processing, this trip for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time.

here are the 1st 3 pics- one here, 2 others behind a polite cut: they are on the 6-hr cruise (try to say THAT without singing the "gilligan" song) from port of Valdez into prince william sound. these guys are huge- they can range from 700 lbs to a ton.

sea lion chillin..any port in a storm

more animalia )
i am going to really try to chill this week-end. first week of teaching/schedule starts tuesday and i want to be SIGNIFICANTLY better.

home again

Aug. 29th, 2008 04:16 pm
spiralflames: (lifeisgood)
and deets to follow.

now might be the time to run far, far away....

first batch of pics uploaded to flickr and soon to here.

final count? about EIGHT HUNDRED.

don't worry, i'll be selective about posting and lj-cuts.

it's weird to be back.

and i'm sick. going to dr this aft.
spiralflames: (scenery)
i'm going to miss this place.

the odd, unpredictable people.

sam's sourdough cafe'.

daylight that lasts til 11 PM.

the trees, the trees, the trees. how can i go back to living somewhere where i can't see the horizon?

how can i live back in a place where it's NOT natural to say "Let's drive up to the university and see if Denali's showing today?

the FLOWERS. the sun is INTENSE and, of course, no pollution/haze. every place has baskets of flowers, blooming gardens, riotous colors.

the TAIGA and the small, scrubby trees who grow in permafrost.


the wife of a friend of mine said that she prefers to hang out with people who "make her life larger." i told that to kim today- she has made my life larger.

i am going to have to take the spirit of the Taiga home to the city, and not let this spirit be lost in work, students, telephones, commuting, schedules.

some of it, for sure, is the phenomenon of actually taking TWO WHOLE WEEKS and getting out of my world. that's unheard of for me. so it's a basic reluctance just to get back to doing basic stuff- but there's no denying that this amazing place and its amazing people have changed me forever.


*the guy whose street sign (you buy the property, you name the street) says AT YOUR OWN RISK road.

*the guy who hauled a 707 COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE on to his lot and LIVES there- the stairs to haul up to the door, the jeep outside, the satellite dish.

*the guy who has totally rusted-through 1920's era trucks and cars in his lot which he swears WILL run, with a 'little more work.'

*the rather basic house whose yard is literally packed 4 feet high with STUFF..clothes, objects, furniture, boxes, god knows what. no grass. just a path through to the front door.

*the people who buy lots and spend their days panning for gold. (your property, do what you want)

*oh..and not to forget kathy, who has 3 turkeys in her front yard- named Bowser, J.D. and Steve. there's something truly WRONG about a turkey named Steve.

i will miss this place.

tomorrow, we drive all day to get back to anchorage, then i fly all nite and get home at 7 AM thursday morning.

and then someone who's met the Taiga will start teaching piano lessons the following tuesday.

god help us all.


Aug. 22nd, 2008 04:36 pm
spiralflames: (Default)
i love my life.
spiralflames: (lifeisgood)
wednesday, we visited a lodge that had a Hot Springs.

it was a beautiful, log structure- hotel, restaurant, bar. you can get a day pass that allows you access to their spa- hot tubs and a swimming pool inside, and a natural hot springs outside. they've built a faux-rock walkway and paved the bottom with walkable surface (nobody wants to walk on mud/creek floor) but 90 degree water flows from a hot spring, and a fountain in the middle sprays cold water for when you start to par-broil. NO KIDS ALLOWED, so adults wander around, chat, (i had fun trying to guess "pants/no pants") mostly stand there and get the sun on their faces (alaska ,sun is INTENSE...i forgot what non-polluted light looks like!)... it was bliss.

yesterday was another intense-blue, no-clouds day, so we decided to take off for denali national park.

i'm not used to the changing weather here- the tall mountains create their own weather systems, so you can drive into cold, rain, cloud, and 20 miles later, full sun again. by the time we got to denali, the clouds/rain had kicked up. we weren't able to see The Mountain itself (evidently its top is visible NINE or so days per year) but its meagre 15,000 ft "foothills" were impressive.

i learned 4 types of environments- 1) lowest level- forest (basic- soil, plants, trees). 2)taiga- about 40% up the side of the mountain- getting colder and more frozen, so very small trees spaced wider apart, and green ground cover. 3) about 70% up the mountain- tundra. frozen soil, no trees can grow, but the shallower-rooted ground cover can still make it. it would be possible to hike through tundra w/good boots. 4) top 30% of the mountain or so- don't know if there's a real name for it, but sheer rock. bald rock in the summer, a little bit of snow. so 1 mountain can have 4 distinct, delineated environments on its noble slopes.

in the coffee shop where i write, there is a banner above the door that says "LISTEN TO THE WISDOM OF THE TAIGA."

this Cheechako certainly will try. :-D

tonight, we're meeting at Creamer's Field, which is a huge migratory bird sanctuary. thousands of huge Sandhill cranes hanging out on their trip further north.

my little Spirit is content. i miss friends and family, but i love it here. i KNOW one way or another, i WILL be back.
spiralflames: (scenery)
*fairbanks is an amazing city, like none other i've experienced. the world of nature and the world of city/suburbs exists side-by-side. kim lives about a mile from the university, but if you saw the outside of her house and its trees and such, you'd think it was a cabin deep in the woods. but drive down her street? hello. strip mall w/a good coffee shop and a pizza hut.

*drive-through "espresso huts" abound. get your $5 Kona coffee raht here!

*people are generally friendly and casual. conversation overheard this morning at breakfast: 4 men discussing the best place to pick blueberries, strawberries, high-bush cranberries. "yeahl go up there past monroe, they're great up there!"

*many different accents, languages, races. kim says "people come to alaska to get away from something." she has a female friend who is a forest ranger who lives in a house with *no electricity.*

*there's always an awareness of living around/in/respect of the natural world. art on coffeeshop walls is either nature photography or animal art- every restaurant has some kind of either native american design or hunting/moose/bear/elk/caribou parts hanging from walls. a bit difficult to get used to. hunting and fishing are *not* politically incorrect.

*people drive like bats outta hell. it's not surprising to be passed on the 2-lane highway by someone in a truck going 90.

*even toddlers wear itty-bitty hiking boots. this is NOT a designer society.

*it is insanely, otherworldly, beautiful here, and people don't seem to pay too much attention to clothes, hair, buildings, structures. why bother when you can see Denali from the airport on the way to work?

*cheechako- "n00b, newcomer"
spiralflames: (nature)
today, i'm A L O N E in a coffeeshop/bookshop called Gulliver's in suburban fairbanks. this morning, i told kim, as she proceeded to tell me where everything in the city was "here's our mcDonald's!" "here's a really good restaurant!" i said, honey, you need to get me to a coffeeshop and leave me there- i need to off-load data. about 15 minutes and i really would have burst into tears, like a kid at an amusement park- just TOO much, too much, too much.

it's been amazing. weds, flew into anchorage. anchorage is right on the water and surrounded by mountains- beautiful. it seems like a city that didn't know it was going to BE a city..just streets and streets of odd little businesses and places, strip joint next to family pizza place next to fast food next to taxidermy.

thursday we drove down the seward highway to portage glacier, along another range of mountains. then we drove 200 miles or so up to Glennallan, where her brother and sister-in-law live, where we were supposed to stay. glennallen's up in PERMAFROST, so the trees- black spruce- are small and stunted by getting whomped with snow- they're over 200 years old but maybe 6-10 feet tall. so the rellies WEREN'T THERE, which meant we stayed in this luxury lodge called "princess hotel" which is associated with princess cruise lines. she left me for the afternoon and i watched silver-haired wealthy types play shuffleboard (where is julie, my cruise director, and isaac with my margarita?)

friday we drove down to valdez. saturday, we took a 6 hr cruise that ended up at columbia glacier. that was incredible- sea otters, sea lions, puffins, dolphins, killer whale sighted. valdez, which is on the prince william sound, is a fishing town and exists in a rainforest climate- the humidity from the Sound bounces back to the mountains and is trapped. the valley was lush and the trees had MOSS hanging from them!

sunday took us back to glennallan and stalking the relatives, who deigned to show up. we slept in their motorhome. (!)

monday, 300 miles drive to fairbanks, which is half and half in permafrost and thawed, which means a combination of tall pines/spruce and stunted little black spruce, and is in a valley surrounded by mountains, and is the gateway to Denali.

(continued next entry)
spiralflames: (lifeisgood)
well, here i be on a guest computer at the Princess Hotel close to Glennallen, AK. to be honest? i could come home. not that i'm not having a great trip- i am. but i'm absolutely overwhelmed with beauty. my friend kim says "people come to alaska to run away from something." i can see it. it's odd up here- nobody's a native, or the natives aren't seen too often. many people are either alone, or clueless tourists. i feel too formal, too foreign.

this is a Foreign Country.

yesterday i shot over 250 pictures. ridiculous. i've already erased half of them. there's no way a photo can really portray : H U G E : but that's what everything is. just out-of-reality immense.

i see my world in macro- my music, my life, my days. my details and the macro go into my photography, and the way i look at the world is through a backwards lens- things look smaller rather than larger. i think this trip is going to change that.

one thing about alaska- once you see it, once you realize how many trees are on ONE side of ONE small mountain, once you are awed by the most AMAZING sight in the world, and then drive around the corner and realize there are 50 more, bigger and whiter and more imposing, filled with even MORE trees, your brain almost has to shut down, because you purely just can't process it all.

tonight we drive down to Valdez, and evidently tomorrow there's a day cruise which might have glaciers and whales.

i am fractured by this immensity. i can't hold it.


spiralflames: (Default)

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