There are a million words and thousand memories floating through my mind the moment I step off the plane into the remote fishing town of Dillingham, Alaska. Isolated from any sort of "normal" civilization, this place became my normal for a few years and slowly delivered me from any fears I had of stepping out into the wild unknown. That is what it was to me; something wild, unknown, completely unglamorous but filled with promise for change and new seasons, and self discovery.
You see, nothing in Alaska is normal. Not the people, not the way you dress, not the way of life. It is so far removed from the rest of the United States, and I have completely fallen in love with it. God, I miss it so much. It is rough, and only the ones who can stand it, stay. I once heard someone say something along the lines of "Everyone in Alaska is either searching for something, or running from something." For me, it was both. I don't even truly know what I was searching for anymore, but surely I had found it in my new-found boldness and ability to pack my bags in the blink of an eye and move to the next place. In the ability to set out under the midnight sun of summer, to bear the seemingly never ending winter darkness and freezing cold, and to adapt to a world so far removed from my home in the South, I found myself. In the silence, in the freedom..in the rhythm of a place where summer whispered your name and the cold called you home.
Here are a few (ok, a lot, but I don't do personal posts often) photos from our time in Alaska this summer visiting dad while he worked during salmon season. More than anything, I am so glad we have been given the opportunity to continue to visit this amazing place even if we don't live there anymore, and Elsa gets to experience it...I hope we are always able to make Alaska a part of our family. These photos are from wandering around the town, and the grounds of Peter Pan where dad works. As you can see, Alaska is not glamorous; from the broken concrete and shabby buildings to the old and beaten truck, and to top it off, ridiculously high-priced (not fresh) fruit. This is life in the Alaskan bush. I am so thankful for living that...I miss it's simplicity but it taught me to appreciate how much we have here in "normal" society. There is something so much more powerful about becoming ingrained in a place by living there, rather than just visiting. You become part of the heartbeat, the culture, adapting to their ways and their gestures. Learning how they live, and aligning your life to fit into this new place with so many new ways. Alaskan culture, especially in rural Alaska, is truly interesting and I hope to document it more fully in the future. As soon as next year I hope to use photography to document the subsistence/salmon subsisence lifestyle and the commercial fishing of Bristol Bay as well as the Natives who are a large part of this society.
There is truly nothing like it, and it will always hold a place in our hearts. After all it's where I met Nick, and where we began our journey together.
Photos taken on both an iPhone and DSLR. I hope you can spot the iPhone photos. ;)
Part 2 & 3 to follow.