Story last updated at 11/4/2009 - 12:22 pm
"Orcas in the channel! Orcas in the channel!" So goes the cry around town today. I love living in a place where that is the phone call I receive on a lazy autumn day. Other days the call might be "cohos hitting at Outer Point."
The more I got to thinking about the specialness of these neighbor to neighbor alerts, the more I realized that when you put them all together, these alerts comprise a poetry of wildness.
Orcas in the channel
Bubblenetting at North Pass
Butts biting at Handtroller's
Bears at the Glacier
Sockeyes strong at Sweetheart
This is the language of home. Add a splendid sunset at Shaman Island or a shifting fog-shrouded morning at Auke Bay and these calls take on mystical dimensions.
Not only do I live in a place where this poetry of wildness comes, but I have an equal opportunity to experience first class art and culture.
Salsa Borealis at Cententinal
Crosssounds at the JACC
Our poetry of culture includes folk festivals, art exhibits, master carvers, symphony and opera performances, dance festivals and award winning sculpture. Yet for many of us the great outdoors draws us here-hiking, boating, skiing, kayaking and camping-all in spectacular settings. In fact, Backpacker Magazine rated Juneau fifth in the nation as a one of the best communities for raising outdoor children. Purely and simple we love to play; the alerts go from friend to friend.
Ptarmigan 's open
Lake track set
Wednesday sailing starts
Spaulding meadows prime
These alerts sing poetry to my playful spirit. When the sun shines on the weekend this poetry of play profoundly balances our chores, duties and work.
The phone rings again with "orcas in the channel." I let my friend know that I'm already on it. Soon a pod of four orcas breaks the surface with imposing dorsal fins. I share this moment of wildness with a group of neighbors all perched on the breakwater at Douglas Harbor. It's not the first time we've seen orcas but something profound draws us out of homes and offices to share in the passing of these magnificent creatures. It is the bonding of our noble place in the world. For a few moments we are transported out of our everyday life, down into our very souls.
When I get these alerts of wildness, culture happenings or play opportunities, I realize that all together it is the poetry of place, the poetry of living in a mountain-framed rainforest in the heart of the Alexander Archipelago where art and play flourish. The language of life here resonates uniqueness.
Kate Troll is a writer residing in Douglas.