We should have known we were in trouble when the MOST detailed guidebook said "once you reach Dogsled Pass, look up and to the right. There you will find the pass that will take you to Fairangel lake and mine". Hmmm. Up and to the right are three seemingly good choices. On the way, we found gold, radioactive green moss, a small canister with change mounted to a confusing directional sign (why, so you can call a cab?) and helped start the formation of a black cloud (I'm quite sure it was our lack of serious faces that angered the Pass gods) that then traveled to Wasilla to rain on Bumpus ballfields, cancelling my softball game. We did make it up and over a pass. I think we were the first people there, because this was the kind of climb that keeps my mother up at night, rightfully so. At least I hope we were the first, because we named it Willow Pass, for the amazing nimble feet of Willers, my bud and sidekick.
And now, as I sit and write about the ease at which anyone can name a mountain pass, I see the almost full moon in the darkening sky and realize fall is upon us, with the changing colors in the mountains- yellows, deep reds, and the crisp air that bites in the morning as Chum greets my buckets. It looks to be a beautiful fall. Bittersweet for me as always, in Alaska.
From "Roses, Late Summer", M. Oliver:
And over one more set of hills,
along the sea,
the last roses have opened their factories of sweetness
and are giving it back to the world.
If I had another life
I would want to spend it on some
I would be a fox, or a tree
full of waving branches.
I wouldn't mind being a rose
in a field full of roses.
Fear has not yet occurred to them, nor ambition.
Reason they have not yet though of.
Neither do they ask how long they must be roses, and then what.
Or any other foolish question.