alaska

You should never go to Alaska as a young man

“John Muir, the famous naturalist, wrote in his journal that you should never go to Alaska as a young man because you’ll never be satisfied with any other place as long as you live. And there’s a lot of truth to that.”

~ Tom Bodett

(sorry, i don’t remember where i saw this quote)

A wee bit of cause and effect

A wee bit of cause and effect:

I may never have lived in Alaska
if I didn’t first go there on vacation.

I may have never gone to Alaska on vacation
if Colorado wasn’t on fire in 2002.

I may not have thought to go to Alaska in 2002
if I hadn’t discovered Northern Exposure ~1996.

I may never have discovered Northern Exposure
if I didn’t quit a job I didn’t like in 1995.

I may never have discovered Northern Exposure if a tv channel
that doesn’t exist today hadn’t aired it back then.

This keeps going back in time until I was born (or before then),
but that’s the basic idea.

Shinzen Young’s story of Shingon/Shinto training

Years before I heard of Shinzen Young, I had always “enjoyed” practicing meditation in the cold. Some part of it probably goes back to childhood, when I had to wait for the schoolbus in the freezing cold of northern Illinois winters. (This was in the time before global warming.) I used to stand there without moving, and mentally I’d concentrate on not being cold, or at least not feeling the cold.

Many years later when I lived in Alaska, I used to enjoy going up into the mountains to basically inflict the same thing on myself. I always thought the “meditate deeply or suffer the consequences” approach forced me to meditate more deeply. This past winter that same “Do or die, there is not try” mentality forced me to maintain my focus and helped to combat my medically-induced lack of energy.

Paragliders in Hatcher Pass, Alaska

Back in 2011 I was meditating in the mountains of Hatcher Pass, Alaska — a place where you generally don’t have to worry about bears, unless you’re picking berries down in the valley — and I heard some yelling. Then I got up, came around the side of where I was, and saw the paragliders at this YouTube video.

Before I die I want to ... (Juneau, Alaska) alvin May 2, 2019 - 11:07am

This image comes from 2014, but it’s still a cool idea today. Someone created an art project in Juneau, Alaska that allowed people to complete the sentence, “Before I die I want to ...”