Saturday, May 4, 2013

More Village Trips

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately, but I've been busy working and traveling out to villages.  However, I have some more pictures taken from the clouds.  

Bethel, Alaska from the airport (known in the area as PABE, Pacific Bethel)

The Bering Sea.  The darkness toward the center is the area that is finally melting.  Again, just look at that blue sky!

Nightmute, Alaska located on Nelson Island.

Nightmute again.

Bering Sea:

More from my Tales:

I was sometimes afraid to go out.  The wind pushing me in ways I didn’t want to go.  The burning on my face, fingers and toes went from commonplace to unbearable.  The bitter cold enhance the isolation.  I felt so alone. 
I also saw enormous black birds everywhere around Bethel.  They were, without question, the biggest birds I’d ever seen in my life.  They also had an attitude about them that was unlike any birds I’d ever observed.  They seemed to size you up and came relatively close as you were out walking.  I discovered they were ravens.  I also discovered that the natives believed ravens were mystical and were very wary of them.  When coloring birds, the children would say, make the bird any color but black.  You could sense the uneasiness.  I understood it when I saw a raven flying with a frozen solid rat in its beak.  I felt uneasy too.
I later discovered, too, that ravens are considered highly intelligent birds.  I figured that had to be true because they survived in a frozen environment, yet managed to find things to eat and places to nest.  They had to be smarter than me because I was constantly having difficulty figuring out survival.   Later, I also learned that many Native Alaskan tribes believe the raven is the creator of life, the father of their existence.  It made sense to me then:  to normalize the creator of their existence would be blasphemous.   From then on, I looked at Ravens a bit differently too.
I noticed a building that actually had wooden carvings over the windows.  Another passenger in my cab told me the building was the first church built in Bethel and it was over 100 years old.  It seemed so out of place among the other buildings I’d seen previously.  And I began to realize how much I missed architecture.  All of the buildings in the villages and mostly in Bethel were of a pre-fabricated type, modular units bolted together with no imagination. 
In Bethel, occasionally a house stood out as a log cabin type of structure or maybe something more commonly seen in the lower 48, however, the majority of the buildings lacked any sort of architectural style that would date back to before the turn of the century so often seen back east.  I missed Victorian mansions and Georgian columns, marble and stone.  I missed the ornate decorations that are so commonplace back in Ohio and even farther east.  No art deco.  No art nouveau.  No 50’s kitsch.  I didn’t even see anything that resembled the arty angles of the sixties.  I missed the rich visual scenery that is the backdrop to every venture out of doors. Few buildings even had more than one floor.  No elevators, no escalators and as winter dragged on, even the outdoor steps became fewer and fewer as the snow levels rose above the bottom two or three steps leading up to every house or building.  

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