Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Whale Bones and Crosses
A lot has happened over the last week. I don't know where to start.
We left last Friday for our village after Camille got off work at 5:00. We tried to get things done before we left, but there was just not enough time in the day (p.s. Thank you moms and dad and all others who helped us!). Our flight was scheduled to leave from SLC at 7:35, and we made it there with plenty of time to spare. When we got situated at the gate, though, we noticed that our tickets didn't say that we would be riding with infants on our laps like they should have. When I went to get that remedied, they offered to put us on a flight that hadn't been oversold like ours had that would also be flying directly to Anchorage instead of stopping over at Seattle. We were thrilled with the thought of not having to switch planes and find our way through the Seattle airport with two babies and two bags.
Chalyse flew very well, and Ellora did well too, besides a little discomfort from the change in pressure. When we got into Anchorage, though, Chalyse was wide awake and a little ornery. All she wanted to do was eat fruit snacks, and neither Camille nor I had the energy to fight with her, because to us it was 2:00 in the morning. She probably ate 6 packages of them.
After a five hour layover we were on our way again. When we got to Kotzebue, we met a family that was headed to Point Hope on the same flight that we were. We got to know them a little as their niece played with Chalyse. The wife, I found out later, is on the Board of Education.
As we continued on the last leg of our journey, we had a hard time staying awake, although the occasional jerky motions of our small plane woke us up. The clouds were thick, and we had little warning when the land appeared underneath us through a break in the clouds. As we landed, I caught sight of the graveyard that is not far from the airport. Tall whale bones marked some of the graves of the traditional burial sights mixed with crosses. Small purple wildflowers added gentle accents to the green sod. Beyond that was gray. The roads and town were gray from the natural abundance of gravel, the sky was gray, and the ocean was gray. It had, though, it's own kind of raw beauty.
We were picked up by the maintenance guy and he took us to our apartment and then on a tour of the village. Our perishable foods had all gotten there before we had. We couldn't find any of our other bags, however, and for all we knew they weren't anywhere in town. This was a big concern, because we hadn't been able to fit many clothes, any bedding, or any utensils into our carry-ons. We were able to find our first four boxes at the post office (thankfully the post office opened for four hours on Saturday) which contained all of our bare essentials.
To Be Continued...