(on the first anniversary of 9/11)
I’VE BEEN THINKING A lot about freedom of late, particularly when I went home this year for the Fourth of July. Home is Seldovia, a village of about 500 people on the southern shore of Kachemak Bay, a place of heart-stopping beauty built on the precarious edge of a deep blue fjord at the foot of precipitous green mountains. You can’t drive to Seldovia, you have to fly or take a boat. Aleuts lived there first, and then came the Whites, and after them the Filipinos, and now we’re all mixed up together in a wonderful jumble I call family.
I went home because my friend Kathy, born Quijance and now Gottlieb, had decided it was time for a family reunion, and it had to be in Seldovia, and it had to be on the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July is Seldovia’s biggest day, everyone comes home and so do a whole bunch of perfect strangers from all over Alaska and even Outside. The airport has planes parked wingtip to wingtip and boats, power and sail, pleasure and fishing crowd the small boat harbor. The day is small-town America made flesh, with a parade and the dead fish pass and chainsaw carving and the Old Crab Auction. Don’t ask, okay? It’s Seldovia, it’s the Fourth, and we don’t give a damn how you do it anywhere else.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.