Waiting in the Seattle airport to board a plane back to our former home in Alaska, my eyes scanned for the first familiar face. It took, like, 30 seconds. Though large in miles, Alaska remains a small town, where you’re greeted with smiles and open arms.
Jeff picked me up at the airport. The next day he went fishing, caught a king salmon, stopped by a friend’s house (unannounced, of course, because that’s what we do in Alaska), and asked, “Hey, can I clean this fish in your kitchen? And oh yeah, how about if you invite a bunch of people over for a potluck in a couple hours?” And of course, because that’s what we do in Alaska, the friend obliged.
We sat around the table spread with fresh salmon, greens from someone’s garden, fresh rhubarb pie, homemade bread, and a wildflower bouquet. Most of the folks were already friends of ours, others became so on the spot. The following evening was a similar experience with another group of friends. The next day we went on a mountain run with more friends, old and new.
Talk flowed effortlessly. We looked in each other’s eyes, caught up, laughed, told stories, hugged. Because that’s what we do in Alaska.
The sense of community is strong here.
Don’t we all need that? Don’t we long to have someone look us in the eyes, listen to us, share life, love and accept us? We all want to know and be known and still be loved, warts and all.
It doesn’t matter if you find your community around a table, in the mountains, at the office, in an exercise class or on the ball field. We were designed for relationships. They make our lives richer, stronger, better.
It’s good to be back in Alaska, the place that has taught me so much. I want to take the lessons learned here back to our new home in Idaho. I want those I encounter to experience that same welcoming spirit as is given in Alaska.
Because that’s what we do.