Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Last Village Trip of the School Year

Well, I completed my last village trip for the school year on Monday.  My pilot for the trip was brand spanking new and you could even see how shiny he was!  Just in from Michigan, he came up here to get some experience flying in adverse circumstances.  I told him to just wait, the weather will come.


It was one of those trips in a teeny tiny plane, only seating four people including the pilot.  I rode shotgun:

The tundra is beginning to thaw finally:

More from Alaska Tales:

The Natives seemed to have an affinity with the weather.  Waiting impatiently (as always) for a flight to take off, I heard one of the Native pilots comment quietly, “Small snow.  Small snow coming,” as he stood in front of a large window.  Within 20 minutes, a light flurry ensued, dancing flakes that was truly a small snow.   Often transplanted pilots from the lower 48 spoke in awe of the Native pilots, following their lead when flying looked difficult.
Prior to coming to Alaska, I’d heard that the Natives had 200 words to describe snow.  That urban legend was quickly scotched.  The Natives have one word for snow.  It is . . . snow.  The Yup’ik language is a rather sparse language that conveys meaning mostly through inflection.  However, it contains sounds my mouth is incapable of recreating.  Even some of the village names are so difficult to pronounce, those of us who are transplanted have nicknamed and shortened their names to something we are able to manage.  Often I feel bad about that.  It is, after all, only courtesy to pronounce a name correctly.  I struggle with it, and the local folk laugh at my efforts, amused by my lack of articulation.

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