Stay tuned (patiently) as we occasionally throw updates on here about what steps we're taking to get to our end goals, DIY tricks and life-hacks, child-rearing tactics (strategery), etc.

Monday, May 28, 2012

CHRONICLES: A Brief Summary of Alaskan Independence

I'm sitting here without a clue as to what I should be blogging about. It's an all-too-frequent process for me. I'd limit that statemet to recent history, but.. come on.. really?

It seems lately that there is much sadness surrounding much of the world. I talked to a friend who told me that Wyoming is putting various resolutions into place that could, if necessary, make them a stand-alone country outside of the rest of the United States. (It's interesting to note, however, that part of this also included the purchase of an aircraft carrier. No joke.) Then I did a mess of research about Alaska's storied past. To me, the "chechako" (newb for the kids), it's fascinating to discover some of this stuff.

Alaska was purchased by the United States for some ridiculously low amount of money. Even when adjusted for inflation, it's still brain-numbingly cheap. For a long time, it was a territory, which meant the United States could come in, take whatever they wanted as far as resources go, and go on their way. Understandably bitter, the sourdoughs (the people that have been here forever, not the natives, but the oldest transplants) wanted Alaska to have more power. Supposedly, the desired outcome was control of their own resources, ideally resulting in becomming an independent country. However, for whatever incentive, the most viable option at the time was joining the United States, which resulted in a long and steady relationship of respect and relative independence.

As the years went on, an undercurrent of sentiment began to rise in some of the locals that the people in Washington, so well disconnected from the state up here, have slowly worked into chipping away at the Alaskan control of itself. As recently as 2010, initiatives were brought to the state government promoting Alaska's withdrawl from the rest of the country to establish itself as an independent nation. Sean Parnell, then Lt. Governor, and the Alaska Supreme Court quickly struck it down, the latter citing cecession as illegal and unconstitutional. I read their verdict online, as well as the petition itself. Nowhere in the petetion is the word "cecession" written. However, it's in the verdict something like twenty-six times.

Now I'm not completely for Alaskan Independence. I simply feel that there was once an America that was free, whose people were educated, motivated, and allowed to exist without persecution, subtle or blatant. I also recognize that the America I refer to seems to be easing more and more closely to a dangerous precipice, and, from where I'm looking, Alaska hasn't deteriorated to that extent. I acknowledge the argument that Alaska accepts more government money per capita than any other state. However, in a state with no infrastructure that's over twice as large as Texas, has a very significant wealth in natural resources, and a population of less than 800,000 statewide, that's understandable. I would go on to say that, had Alaska control of it's own oil, timber, fish, and growth, much of that federal subsity wouldn't be necessary.

Sigh... at any rate, lots to think about that interests me. This is a fascinating place.

CHRONICLES: The Rise of Dash

Yesterday I fell in love. With a boy. A little boy. A one year old. With only three legs. Dash is a chocolate lab mix, and the lady at the vet clinic has been trying to find a home for him for four months. Every interested potential family has been hesitant because of his disability. In our family, we see it as joy in a challenge. So, with that, we adopted Dash. He's awesome. Lots of energy. Great around kids. Great with other dogs. Big. Playful. Awesome. Seems like he's been around forever already, and it hasn't even been a full 24 hours. Malcolm loves him and feeds him all the time, establishing their own relationship. They chase each other, and Malcolm has already given him a kiss and a hug.

Dogs... best friends.

PROPHESY: The Lookout, The Tower

I was told by Craig, the seasoned local, that if I could get up to where the old hammer was stuck in the rock and pull it out, i'd be the first to do so in fifty years. I wasn't quite as taken with that as I was simply getting to this place. It was new and exciting.

We set out mid-afternoon on a nice day, driving on a relatively flat dirt road, a rarity for this area. Ketchikan never really had trains, but this was as nice as any old narrow gauge track in Colorado. When we got to the end of the road, I looked ahead, and there, about one hundred yards ahead (right where Craig had said), was the rock. It was perpendicular to us, about fifteen feet tall, twenty five feet deep, and maybe fifty feet wide. It sat on a hill which put it just above the trees, and given our height already, I was already imagining what the view would be from atop.

As my bride and I approached and the sun began to set, we could see the silhouettes of the old hammer on top. It was actually a climbing axe, and I could see that the business end was in the air and the handle was actually embedded in the earth. I wondered how I was going to climb the front of it. Difficult, but not impossible. Suddenly it dawned on me: what was behind this slab? I bushwacked through a short thicket of alders and found a gentle, sandy ramp that climbed the length of the backside.

We scrambled up there. By now, it was dusk, and we stood on top of the giant, sandstone block. We looked down over the city. What was one the small, remote "city" of Ketchikan was now truly a city. The lights on the towers of the bridge across the Narrows flashed brightly against the shadows of the mountains of Gravina Island. The Tower, recently completed, stood over the remodelled Marine View and Tongass Towers. It looked like a cross between the CN Tower in Toronto and the Space Needle in Seattle, it's cream-colored concrete painted with red, blue, and green lights from the low end of the cylinder at it's peak. I retrieved my camera phone from my pocket and snagged a picture.

I leaned over to show my father-in-law what he was looking at, and, as I took my focus from the small screen, realized that the environment had suddenly shifted. Getting my bearings, I found myself in town, in a building under remodelling construction. Jim, an old customer of mine from my days at the sign shop, was there chatting my ear off about how lucky we both were to have had the foresight to buy as much property as we did before the boom. Now things were good, and we were both very successful.

As I woke this morning, I couldn't help but wonder what the future will truly hold for us all. With any certainty, though, what is guaranteed is only limited by what we choose to devote to it.