Today is Thursday, September 30, 2010. I am in Bethel, Alaska, and there is snow on the ground. There might still be snow and/or pellets of ice falling from the sky. As for the roads, the snow blows in wavy horizontal streaks (not unlike sand at the beach or in the desert). In conjunction with car headlights, the snaking snow blankets the road in a swaying, smokey gray. Between being enormously entranced by this low-tech special effect and congratulating myself on wearing the perfect amount of gear to regulate my body temperature, I actually enjoyed this morning's walk to work.
I arrived at school, stomped my boots on the front steps (which, like most steps in Bethel, are made of metal grating) to loosen the gray ice clinging to the soles and toe. I climbed upstairs to my office and ripped off the black parka (acquired from a former JV who just left town) and my fleece. At this point I also unrolled my cuffed jeans and learned the critical lesson that like the boot kick, this operation should also be preformed outside. After cleaning up the puddles around my desk, I sat down and checked my email and opened up my usual second tab, Washington Post online (old habits die hard). I was rather surprised to see the top of the page was an article about Alaskan Natives and corporations. [I am having trouble attaching the link, but if you go to the Post's site today, it should be on the front page.]
I knew nothing about village corporations before I arrived in Bethel, but I have acquired some understanding as part of my take-it-as-it-comes on-the-job training. In the future I will attempt to discuss how the ideas in these articles relate specifically to life in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta, but for now, I just wanted to acknowledge this "between worlds" moment. I am going to eat a few more bites of my PBJ breakfast (someone donated a jar of ADAMS peanut butter to the JV house!) and then go de-snow the car to drive students to work. This time around I will not track smutty snow carnage all over my office upon my return.
And next post, I will use fewer parentheses (I promise).