This is my Dad……the first man I ever gave my heart to…Isn’t he handsome? Check out those sideburns. I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever known….still do.
He has a way with children, animals and old folks. He has a way of being totally present with who ever he happens to be with. He makes you feel special, like you are golden. When he was 36, he made the move up north to Alaska. He had wanderlust, and found that Alaska fit him like a perfect Stetson. He took to Alaska, like a fish to water.
The summer of my eighth year, I went to visit him in Alaska. It was the summer of many firsts for me. The first airplane ride I’d ever been on. The first summer without my mother. The first summer without electricity. The first summer without T.V. The first summer to taste and pick wild berries. The first summer to ever take a bath in an aluminum tub, with water that had been heated by campfire in the biggest black pot I’d ever seen. The first summer I had ever pumped water by hand. The first salmon I had ever tasted, straight from the biggest river I had ever been on. The first summer to go camping. The first time to ever see hail, dangerous hail, the size of golf balls. The first time I ever helped catch and prepare wild game (the state bird!). The first time I’d ever spent the day chasing squirrels around birch trees with beautiful white papery bark. The first time I had ever seen sled dogs, fierce huskies, who ate fish stew, cooked in that same big black pot. In the photo above I am sitting in the back of an ancient truck, wearing my dad’s cowboy hat. We were on an adventure. My dad drove that truck from Fairbanks, Alaska to Eagle, Alaska. We were going to visit his friends Sonny and Patty. I was to stay with them, while my dad fought fires to make extra money that summer. My dad was a truck driver. His dream was his gold mining operation. He did that during the summer. He was a mountain man, and loved that life. To listen to him tell stories of Alaska is wonder filled, he lights up, and the listener is enraptured by that life, that time of untamed wildness.
This is a wonderful snapshot of a picnic lunch in Eagle, Alaska. We packed up the cooler, got on a boat and motored up the Yukon river to enjoy our lunch. We got off the boat and on the shore of the river were so many blue green stones. My dad said these were immature
turquoise. I put a few in my pocket and had them for a while. I wish I still had them. I do still , have the memory of that picnic, which is far more precious. What a gift my father gave me.
Here I am in Eagle. I am walking Yeller, one of the gentler husky sled dogs. You can see the Yukon river in the back ground. I looked at this photo while posting it. It was the first I had really looked at it as an adult, and am in awe that I had that experience. What an inheritance my father has given me. Thank you Dad, I love you.
I have been inspired by Jude, http://spiritcloth.typepad.com/ , to start a quilt for my father. I have decided to use a bear and fish in the quilt. I had to go and see what these totems mean according to native culture. My father is a deeply spiritual man, he never really had much need for “church”, although he respects the worlds’ religions , and has always had a profound connection to his creator and nature. Here is a site to learn more about animal totems and their meaning-
Here is the start of the quilt. It is a start……..
Thank you Jude for the inspiration to pick up a needle and get busy. SpiritCloth has taught me to be more free with the possibilities of cloth and to let the unexpected and often unexplored, fuel my creativity. I look forward to this journey.