Friday, April 22, 2011

Life in Deering No More

Adding another bambino to our world has meant fewer blog posts. I feel some awe when I see other mothers with more than one child regularly post about what is going on in their respective worlds. A dear friend reminded me last year when I was beating myself up about feeling worn out by raising kids and keeping up a home that I don't have things like take-out or grandmas/aunties to ease the strain. I gave myself a bit of a break for that. Needless to say, my world is consumed with Eloise and Silas and meals and laundry and baths and picking up and...and...and...the list goes on. I barely have a spare moment or two free hands to get my blog updated. You will have to pardon my poor performance in updating you all.
To add to my list of things to accomplish: packing. This time we are not just packing for the summer. That would be too easy. Sadly we are leaving Deering. We have spent two wonderful years here. We have experienced some wildly uncommon things, like: traveling on a bush plane, sea ice, musk ox both in the field and on the dinner plate, midnight sun, -40 temps, much lower wind chills, amaaqing babies, a freezer full of salmon, bush shopping, explaining to people on the phone that we could make up an address and our mail would still get to us, honey buckets, blackout curtains, Arctic blueberries. I also delivered a baby in the Deering clinic...that might just take the "uncommon" cake.
Some may wonder if we are done with our adventure. Thankfully the answer is unequivocally NO! We LOVE bush Alaska. A while back we were taking a family outing to the airport astride our Honda (4 wheeler) and I had settled feeling as we were bumping along the road back into town, that I could live out here forever. The Arctic has changed my outlook, my chemistry, my way of being, my very core. We love where we live and the challenges it requires of us.
We begin another chapter of our bush adventure in Noorvik. Paul will be the principal of the 3rd largest school in the district. Noorvik sits snugly in a bend of the Kobuk River. It is east of Kotzebue by about 40 miles. It is the closest village to Kotz, from which all things are measured. The village has about 500 people. More than a third of them are school aged. Many Deering families have ties to Noorvik. Noorvik began in the early 1900s when the Quaker missionaries resettled a core group of natives with the intent to shelter them from the rowdy miners living in Deering.
To Paul's delight we will be enjoying trees again. The tundra is inhospitable for trees to grow. Noorvik and other villages "up river" are lucky to be included in the Boreal forest. In Deering we have willows which are more like 8-10 ft. tall thick hedges. If you are a moose you have a great appreciation for the foliage and the camouflage the willows provide. We leave behind the ocean. We trade musk ox for moose. We have eaten a lot of musk ox and we will be sad to not have a freezer full next fall. We will be living in housing with a sweeping view of the river; however, that means we are further from the school. We have enjoyed living mere steps from the school building. I do look forward to having a view from my window other than buildings. Here in Deering I get to look at the school building through our front window, the generator shed through the back window, and a shipping container through the side window. We will eliminate stairs just in time; Silas will be quite mobile by the time we return in July.
The hardest part about leaving Deering will be leaving behind precious people. I imagine that the day I board flight 642 headed to Kotz my eyes will be brimming with tears.Thank you Deering for introducing us to the ways of the people. We are forever changed. May our paths cross again in the future.


  1. Do you even shave your legs anymore?

  2. PS: Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a quick read. With your lifestyle/responsibilities, I'd say you could finish it in about 3 weeks.

  3. Lovely sentiments of a thoughtful (emphasis on 'full') life. Having had a small glimpse of Deering, and only a momentary sense of your life there, I can still appreciate your sadness at leaving. We're looking forward to having you back in our neck of the woods for a time, but know that your heart now resides beyond our community.

  4. You have expressed my thoughts and feelings about Buckland and Deering as well. I will be sad to leave but excited about my future in Kiana, Ambler, Shungnak, and Kobuk. I also know I look forward to seeing you in Kotz for in-service!

  5. I use Paul's electric razor.

    I have Legend of Sleepy Hollow on my Kindle...but I am still working through Middlemarch. I am on a mission.