To the Alaskan that Leaves By Ray Friedlander
Writers' Weir 020817 AE 1 For the Capital City Weekly To the Alaskan that Leaves By Ray Friedlander

graphic art from illustrator James Kelly

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Story last updated at 2/7/2017 - 8:59 pm

Writers' Weir

To the Alaskan that Leaves

By Ray Friedlander

To the Alaskan that leaves,

of course I will adopt your plants,

rusted fishing gear, crab pots,

cutlery and towels, power tools,

craft and gardening supplies,

boot dryers, and rain gear,

give life to the Xtra Tufs you will no longer need and

consume the salmon left over in the freezer.

To the Alaskan that leaves,

you were worth it.

Worth being my friend,

worth seeing what the mountains

and ourselves were capable of


I hold no resentment,

no doubts that you did not give it your all

to stay

and do not take it personally—

you will be missed.

I believe this place, this Alaska you have come to know,

has changed your life forever,

so I wish this for you

(although I think it will happen naturally).

To the Alaskan that leaves,

I wish for you to feel almost like a guest

wherever it is you land next,

that you remain courageous and respectful

of your surroundings,

as that is one of the many lessons we learn living here,

that you do not settle for lazy convenience but fight

for the good,

for the memorable experiences,

that you go all the way with yourself,

and not be discouraged by bad weather or people

since you have all the gear

(except the Xtra Tufs)

that is needed.

To the Alaskan that leaves,

as a guest,

as my friend,

when others catch you looking distant, or nostalgic

and ask you about it

I wish for you to talk about this place

as if it is still home for you-

Alaska does not worry if you come home late

or not at all,

but will leave the light on

just in case

you want to find your way back.

For good.

(As I will leave my light on for you, too.

For good.)

Ray Friedlander is a freelance writer and filmmaker for her Juneau-based business, North to the Future Consulting.