Saturday, November 3, 2012


Its utter desolation and there are snippets of everything.  Minnie dying, Teskrio’s smile, Bronwyn’s chocolate sponge cake, everything.  Its french radio and coffee that gets cold too fast $150.00 to fill the gas tank and going places all by myself.

I feel like I’m in the Himalayas or some place just as ragged and jutting and wild.  There is supposed to be great energy here – but for me there is great loneliness.  The wind howls in circles around the house, unknown boards creaking and shuddering, bringing a cold that cuts you.  A cold that seeps through down layers and razors your face and makes fingers red and stiff and swollen.  The mountains are the same every morning.  Just as majestic and uncaring, mystical and untouchable as the day before.

The threadbare prayer flags flapping and dancing to harsh slams of wind on the weathered porch gate remind me of another place, another time, just as cold.  They make me feel like I’m climbing Everest or if a red robed Tibetan monk is going to sit cross legged on the edge of the railing or if some lone figure is standing on the top of a mountain, screaming secrets my mind is too cluttered to perceive.  The shivering slap of the prayer flags always draws me in, mesmerizing me with a great haunting desolation. 

I feel like I’m surrounded by ocean – a lone cork or buoy bobbing in the froth and tangle of the sea, something bright but forgotten, something far far from home.  But I don’t have a home.  Idaho is the closest thing to a home that I felt kinship to - Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, New York, Tchad, Alaska – in all those places I was my home – home was the sacred niche you carved out of the madness.  Home was a bunk bed, a dorm room, a mosquito net, a trailer, a tent, a spare bedroom, and now – a hand built log house on the top of the ridge.  But it doesn’t feel like home.  I wonder if anything ever will any more.  I wonder if I will let it. 

I came here because finally, I wanted to put down roots.  Now, all I want to do is run. 

I want to run back to Tchad, where at least I gave a damn and knew my place in this world – now, I don’t know those people anymore and I don’t know the person that was there, and I feel like I don’t care at all.  That is the most unsettling part.  I don’t care at all. 

I want to run to Pennsylvania – and make impossible things possible with a boy I barely know and will never have a chance to know because I am always the one that leaves.  

I want to run to Tennessee – to rewind the fallen dominoes of choices and never let go of the person that loved me more than anyone else in the whole world.

I want to run to Idaho – turn back the clock and be a kid again – get a horse and eat food from my parents kitchen and swim in the waters of Lake Chatcolet and spend hours taming wild barn cats with tuna and building forts and teepees and scrambling for rusted stakes on abandoned railroad tracks. 

I want to run across the world – with magically enough money in my pocket and everything I need in my backpack and I just want to see everything.  I want to balance barefoot on the Great Wall of China and watch Europe blur by from the window of a train.  I want to drink Guinness in Dublin and roll down a hill thick with wildflowers in the Alps and tour Auschwitz and ride horses through Australia and hitchhike in New Zealand. 

I want to run to South Sudan – I want to give medical help to the starving the dying the ones that need it the most, the ones in the most fragile situations, I want to work with MSF now, I want to know what I’m doing here, why here, why Homer, when I should be there.

I’m a planner.  A dreamer.  My mind is always wandering.  My soul is never content.  My spirit is always flying around the cage of my mind, crashing into logic and scattering feathers, breaking its wings against grit and determination. 

I’m not one that gives up when things are hard.  I’m one that foolishly seeks hard things for the sake of overcoming them.  I’m the one that romanticized moving to Alaska in winter.  I believe in myself far too much and not nearly enough all at the same time.  But things are hard right now.  Things are very hard.  The arms of solitude are cold and bare and icy and unforgiving. 

The loneliness here is like the mountains, solid and silent, unflinching, unrelenting, uncanny, immoveable, regal, majestic, breathtaking, and uncaring.  The mountains give you a sense of insignificance.  They were here long before you.  They will be here long after.  The sun rose over the peaks and fell beneath the ocean long before your plane arrived in Homer and long after you say your last goodbye.  How long you last is up to you.  How hard you want to fight is up to you.  What you do with your time is up to you.  When you say goodbye is up to you.  If you run away, it’s up to you – the wind will still catch the sails of the prayer flags, the old porch will peel and grey a little more each year, the sun will still smile cold and hard and fleeting, and the mountains will be as beautiful as they have always been. 



  1. And that's why I call you Jonah. :-) Miss you! Love, Eli

  2. We miss you Janna! You HAVE made a big difference in Bere and the people you have helped DO remember you. I know you will make a difference in the great COLD place too! Love you! danae and olen (and lyol/zane)