Saturday, May 10


"Lost in the Ice"
Aniak, Alaska
May 9, 2008

Yesterday at 3 pm the phone rang. "The river has just broken, let's go." So we went. Break-up is the big spring event. Days before, everyone is watching the river and trying to read the signs that announce it. And as soon as the first crack sounds, everyone in town knows about it.

Once it starts, there is no going back. The dike becomes the observation point. Everyone in town drops by to check out the river during the day, and there are parties and bonfires at night... or whatever you're supposed to call that time of the day when it should be dark but it's really not all that dark anymore

While the river does its thing, we are all watching closely the changes in the ice. Is it rising? Is it not? Is it flowing? Has it fully stopped? It's quite a show that nature gifts us with. The river changes constantly and those changes involve long quiet hours where it seems like nothing is really happening out there. However, every time we go watch, it looks completely different.

Now we will just have to wait and hope that all those ice blocks that come floating by don't get stuck down river and flood us. There are already lists posted with emergency numbers and shelters. People are starting to bring their dogs and motor vehicles to high ground, gathering enough food at home of the kind that doesn't need water for preparation, as well as drinking and cooking water in containers, and making sure the boats are handy in case they end up needing them. We don't have a boat, so we'll have to manage with a kayak and a raft, in the worse case scenario.

In a way, the idea of flooding sounds almost exciting. And it is also true that at this point, I rather find excitement in a different way. Sometimes it is good to leave the new experiences and constant challenges on the side for a while, and chill out enjoying that which has already become familiar.

So the time has come to wait and hope for the best, since there is nothing else I can do about it.

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