Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Moving to Anchorage

Mellow coals hiss after doing their work of boiling tea water. Mist just encircled the valley where Tchabo and I are camping, shrouding both the sun and the moon in their dance on opposite horizons. I shift from spot to spot in my own dance with the smoke. This camping trip, though spontaneously hatched, has turned into closure for our time in Kodiak. Next week we move to Anchorage.

Anchorage, my home town, has never felt like a place I am anchored to. After growing up there it was strictly a place to visit family and friends between journeying the world. If anything, Anchorage felt disorienting, the way the place of your adolescence can stultify you with old patterns that have an uncomfortably strong grip. Important to experience, and vital to leave. Now, to my surprise and delight, Anchorage is just the place for me and Tchabo. I've travelled enough to know that I am the same everywhere, and I've changed enough to see my hometown with new eyes. I am excited to return.

Tchabo will start at Denali Montessori in August, and I will continue with See Stories leading film workshops with teenagers. Some have dug to find the hidden man behind my move, and I smile because if a man is inspiring this decision it's Tchabo. Kodiak has given him the wild natural childhood that for many places is a thing of the past. Anchorage will give him opportunities and broaden his horizons.

Tchabo's present horizon is that of dreams in our tent, lulled by a roaring surf. Our camping trip coincided with the blue moon which our bodies responded to in tandem with the inhaling and exhaling of the tide. Tchabo played in the surf as the moon milk poured around him strong enough to cast a moon shadow. The tides, the endless waves, all speak of return, of timing, of cycles. Now is the moment for Anchorage. Kodiak has prepared us. I have led my life thirsty for new places and experiences, inspired by the travels of Marco Polo, the 1,001 Arabian nights, and ancestors filled with unsatiated wanderlust. I smile realizing that Anchorage itself holds the whole world, literally, as one of the most international cities I have experienced.

This return to Anchorage is punctuated with a See Stories trip to my extended family in Nebraska. I will do a film workshop in my Mom's hometown of Wausa, supporting students to look at stories of small farm culture. When I was 18, before leaving home, I went to Wausa to gather small town stories for my zine, The Crooked Rascal. I realize with this full circle that See Stories has always existed in my thirst to witness the way people look at the world, the way my family looks at the world and the the way I see it. That thirst exists whether I am in Greece, Uganda, New Mexico, or Anchorage. What has grown is my focus on supporting the next generation to make meaning of this web of stories, whether that be Tchabo or my students. The shared process of anchoring.