I’ve been wondering whether some, those who haven’t yet experienced what I have been fortunate enough to now have immerse myself in twice, have come to consider an Alaska cruise a cliché.
The thought is not an idle one since it springs from a couple of causal conversations that took place a week before my husband and I boarded the Celebrity Solstice. Both mentioned that their spouse had expressed interest in taking the cruise — or that they thought their spouse would probably enjoy the cruise — but it hadn’t happened yet, for reasons unknown. One could see it happening someday… while the other had little interest in visiting Alaska. Both had planned other vacations this year; the “uninterested” one had gathered her eight closest friends with their husbands and her own, to jet over to Europe in a few weeks, to take a cruise sailing from Barcelona with many ports of call, including an exotic sounding Morocco. Someday, I’d like to do that, too, for Barcelona is near the top of my travel bucket list. I remember how surprised she was to hear that I had chosen to return to Alaska… since there were so many other fascinating places to visit in the world.
Funny thing about that, though, is that with this second visit almost over, I can see myself returning here for a third time. There is so much to see and experience. The first trip we marveled over the quiet and wild beauty and all the wildlife. Seeing humpback whales up close is something I still shake my head over in wonder. This trip we not only took a float plane into the Misty Fjords near Ketchikan…
…but were lucky enough to float a guided raft down a “skinny” river in a eagle preserve near Haines… on a blue sky sunny day! My two photos of the day serve merely as icons of the moment…I know they do not hint of the sacredness of place and time experienced there. Hopefully, they’ll help me remember.
I believe that every place possesses its own special brand of beauty and secrets. And all I need to do is show up, with eyes open at half-mast. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? So why is it… that for the most part, I’m not alert enough to see it. To sense a place with ears and nose and fingers and toes. I do better, here in Alaska, I think, since distractions from everyday life recede in the majesty of what lies before me at every angle, as far as the eye can see.
Here, in Alaska, the playing field is leveled so that even the normally non-observant ones, like me — the ones who have their heads in the clouds rather than feet planted on firm ground — can sail away feeling a little more in tune with nature and God. And maybe, a little more in tune with themselves.
Alaska is too artsy and alive and awake… to ever grow into a tired and overused cliche. Wonder of wonders, in spite of receiving three-quarters of a million visitors each year, there’s plenty of majesty left. It waits for you. And it waits for me, too.
It puts me in the mood to pull out that journal of John Muir I purchased last time I was here. How I wish it were here with me… instead of waiting on my bookshelf back home along with all those ever-so-lovely distractions.