Saturday, August 26, 2006

Home at last

Date: August 25
Mileage: 32.1
August mileage: 333.4
Temperature upon departure: 55

Tomorrow marks week 3 since I "moved" to Juneau, and I have finally moved to Juneau. I just signed a lease on a little apartment in West Juneau - decidedly less cool than my place in Homer, but private, well applianced, cat-friendly, and it includes my own yard and garden. And, well, it's a roof. Which is much better than I can get for $300 a month at the Mendenhall Lake Campground. And it's on a island. I've never lived on an island before. Now I can fantasize about the bridge getting washed out and having to call in stranded. If we get much more rain, that fantasy may not be far from reality.

I feel like my three weeks of homelessness helped instill a grizzled sort of sourdough strength that probably would have taken me much longer to develop if I hadn't been ripped so clean of my comfort zone. Those first 10 days in a tent were a baptism by immersion, quite literally, to life in southeast Alaska. I lived out in the weather and learned to move with the rain. I learned how the drizzle stung my eyes but the downpour cleaned my skin. I learned the hard way how to construct a decent tarp shelter, how to dry clothing when there were no dry spaces, how to clean up for an office job using public facilities. Even when I moved into a hotel, I still maintained a sparse, minimalist existence - all but the bare necessities locked away in storage or far away in Homer. I lived with the few things I needed, ate what was immediately available and rode my bike for the shear wonder of exploration (because, to be honest, when I just wanted to work out, I took the easy, rain-free option and went to the gym.)

And despite the disproportionately bad luck and numbing displacement that have come to define August for me, I feel like I hit the ground running. After all, it's not supposed to be easy to move to strange city isolated from its own state, which is in turn isolated from its own country. We outsiders have to be flexible to survive out here, or we'll go crazy trying.