Friday, January 30, 2009

Volcano Erupts in Alaska

Redoubt Volcano, 21 April, 1990.
Image courtesy of R. Clucas and the U.S. Geological Survey
by Robert L. Gisel

 That's the way of Alaskans. A volcano erupts, put on goggles, a breathing mask and carry on. Don't turn on your windshield wipers until you have washed down your car with lots of wet water.

 This is what it means to be a Sourdough Alaskan. Confront the environment and keep forging ahead. The environment might be 40 below zero, hurricane force winter winds, a very blustery rain squall or even random acts of nature as in the great Alaskan earthquake and tsunamis. When the weather doesn't keep you on your toes the wild animals will. If you don't have a high ability of confront you won't survive in Alaska, freeze to death or get eaten. If you do, you hardly notice the conditions are not like South California.

 There is a lot to be said about the confront of the physical universe. You can even use it as a sort of therapy. Working with and handling physical things brings out alertness and focus on the present. Being mentally in the past, thinking heavily of bygone events, reduces one's liveliness, emotional tone and vibrancy. Touching and handling material objects brings in focus, improves emotional well being and active energy.

 So when you can't just get in your car and go but have to warm it up even to get it started, dig it out of the snow, scrape the ice off the windows and then you can go, this tends to bring one way uptone. Overall I do believe the peoples of Alaska are higher toned generally, individually and as a state. This was a factor in Sarah Palin's popularity; higher toned people tend to be straight shooters.

 As we all can't be in Alaska to measure our toughness against the elements this lesson can be utilized anywhere to handle the blahs. A good vigorous round of cleaning tends to leave one more alert and exhilarated. Even a walk around the neighborhood noticing things close and far soon handles a blue funk and puts one emotionally back on top and feeling energetic. This is something anyone, anywhere can use.

 If you happened to have lived in Alaska the life of a Jack London character more power to you. If you just want to now is a good time, it's winter and better yet, if you hurry you could be on hand for a real volcanic eruption.

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