Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forgotten Beauty

I think when you live some place it’s easy to get complacent about the beauty and attractions around you. Every place has some reason to draw tourists, right? I live in Alaska. I’ve been here for 38 years. I can’t count the number of times that when I mention I’m from Alaska, people say to me “I’ve always wanted to go there.”

And my first reaction?

“Why?”

It’s never been a destination for me. It’s always been home so while the rest of the world sees it as exotic, to me, it’s every day.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Alaska is beautiful. And there are days that even the most long term residents can’t help but catch their breath. I still slow my car and marvel when I’m driving work and see a moose munching on my neighbor’s tree. Or I stand on tiptoe to see Mount McKinley (some 200 miles away) from my doorstep. Or even the clear blue sky on a cold winter day.

But sometimes it takes a tourist to remind us of how special our home is. I recently went on a day trip that included a short train ride, a raft to the base of a glacier and then a float down a river. The tour was filled with tourists and three Alaskans. There was a collective gasp as we came around the corner and saw the massive glacier for the first time. I was amazed at the brilliant blues of the glacier ice. I got to touch an iceberg and stick my fingers in a glacial lake.

It rained all day so Alaska wasn’t showing herself off in her best light to the visitors but I could see through the clouds and it reminded me of the stunning beauty that’s minutes away. I’d forgotten that and really needed the reminder.

I think sometimes it’s cool to play tourist in your own land so you see the world through new eyes.

6 comments:

Lynn LaFleur said...

I'm one of those who've always wanted to visit Alaska because I know how beautiful it is. I keep telling myself, "someday."

Great post, Tielle!

Lynn

Boone Brux said...

A beautiful blog, Tielle. Yeah, sometimes I forget that most people in America don't have a large black bear licking their grill on the back porch. The beauty of Alaska. It never gets old for me.:)

LizeeS said...

Your post leaves me homesick, Tracy. And I can attest to the truth of your words because I was a resident-traveler in Alaska for those three years and fell so in love! We've been lucky enough to live several places away from "home." Bremen and Wilhelmshaven Germany, and Toronto, Canada as well as Anchorage. In every place we've had residents say, "Wow, I've been here XXX years and I've never been there." And, it's true for me here in my hometown too. So--thanks for the reminder to stop and smell the roses wherever you live. You just happen to be in one of the world's all-time greatest spots.

DeNise said...

My Alaska has had an unusually dreary summer, so this morning made staying worth while. Crystal blue sky, sunshine reflecting in drops of last nights thunder storm and the threat of 68 degrees. Whoa, doesn't get any better-we miss you Liz. Tielle, thanks for reminding us to look closer.
DeNise

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I grew up in Alaska and still enjoy doing "tourist" things here now and then. There is something special about Alaska. Glad you enjoy it too.

Diana said...

I only got to spend 13 days in Alaska...and am ready to spend another 13 months! The landscape is so varied one could spend years just wandering from city to town to village and never tire of it.

(captcha: ovablo Is that what makes triplets?)