|Loop Road; tundra and water pools.|
The sky here varies in shade, ranging from vibrant and glowing blue, to steeled gray, to off-white, to even more shades in-between. The first day I was here we were convinced that it might be snowing, despite the fact it wasn't cold enough. Mosquitoes dropped downward from the sky so heavy and white that it wasn't until we went outside we realized they were not snowflakes, just heavy-bodied mosquitoes drifting with the wind, never rising. I have never seen such large mosquitoes, but they are slow, and though dense at times they cannot fit through a head net. It is how they frenzy my ears that is most notable, and how Hannah Atkinson described a previous trip--the way she wiped mosquitoes from her face as one would wipe water--that truly illustrates their thickness and size. I mention these mosquitoes, and my snow confusion, because of the sense of disorientation I have felt here, as if I am off-kilter slightly, though this is not a negative thing. I realize, rather, as I wander Kotzebue that this place is challenging in a most beautiful way.
|Kotzebue Evening Sky|
A few days ago we walked a ten mile loop (though the distance is debatable) outward from town, guessing from a distance which ridge line would bring us back into sight and which we would eventually cross on our return. Right now I can hear the kenneled dogs barking and howling--a few yap in excitement but their cadence together is striking. Out the window is a dog sled atop two shipping containers, a common sight in Kotzebue, and though this one lacks a pile of caribou antlers, the way the wood loops into the handlebar above the cargo bed is not only aesthetically pleasing, but intricately artistic. There is much craftsmanship here, and yesterday Norma told us about a boat builder working into the early morning; she found him by following the sound of his electric sander.
|Chukchi Sea, Kotzebue|