Friday, October 26, 2012
Here's a picture I took more than 30 years ago. You're looking at Lynn Canal forty-five miles north of Juneau, Alaska. This is a glacial fjord that runs about a hundred miles north to Haines, then Skagway, where roads connect into the Yukon. (Skagway was the starting point for the dogsled trail during the Gold Rush.) Here Lynn Canal broadens out into a body of water called Berners Bay: the view further to the right is even more spectacular, with mountains rising abruptly from the water just a few miles away. The objects in the foreground are two canoes, set on wooden stands, no doubt to keep them out of the extreme tides: one of the staff got his four wheel-drive truck stuck in the sand right here, filled it up with salt water, and then had to get the truck flushed out in the river.
One can drive to a point about three miles to the south, after which there are no more roads. I'm standing on the beach belonging to Echo Ranch Bible Camp, where I spent two summers as a boy, with my Mom cooking for the campers, and then another several years later, as a young counselor. The camp hugs the sandy lower end of a two mile long valley. In July, one could find big, delicious wild strawberries among the grasses and beautiful flowers at my feet here. This is one of my favorite places in the world. You can often see whales spouting in the water here, catch salmon from the beach, and halibat and crab further out, competing with the seals.
Mom cooked, while Dad was building houses over the often-rainy summers back in Juneau. He'd come out to see us over the weekend. Dad moved to Alaska several months before us -- long, tedious months for us, as well as for him.
Tomorrow is his memorial service. The sun has set again, and again it will be a long wait. But I think we also caught glimpses of glory in those last days.