adams mckinley
Move to Alaska
by Lois Paige Simenson

Nose pressed on the window of a rumbling jet
a snowy November glide from Seattle to Anchorage
sitting on the right for the best view. Gazing on endless mosaics,
bleached rose crags and cerulean glaciers, where
Pacific turquoise holds them in place. You know they move
you know they kill. Ogling ceaseless alpenglow, windswept peaks, jagged    crevasses
transfixed on faraway landscapes
like orbiting Neptune for the first time
What I didn’t do in Montana was slip and fall on a glacier,
slide toward a crevasse,
never to be heard from again. Maybe it’ll happen here.
Jet powers down, poised to land. The alien landscape rises
and greets the wheels, feels bizarre when all is foreign
yet magical. You hope. You wonder.
Am I out of my mind, what have I done. Scotty beamed me
to another planet
where white dominates. A cultural wasteland?
Freaked about moving to the subarctic
Freaked about moving to Alaska.
My Toyota plied thundering, wintry seas to meet me here
on a barge the size of New York.
It’s pink and peeks at me in a weak morning light.
What happened to its happy red paint?
Close inspection reveals it’s still red
under an inch of hoar frost.
I breathe relief and want to hug it. We both survived
the trip to this alien ice kingdom. What have I done.
No more driving from one state to another in a day
or even a week. I don’t know.
Magic happened and
thirty years passed. Now thankful I moved here,
had sundry adventures, all of them memory makers.
More than beauty, my love of this land
Embedded in me
in ways not imagined on that plane.
No regrets moving to
the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Not
a single
one.

PHOTO: “Mt. McKinley Range, Clouds, Denali National Park, Alaska” by Ansel Adams (1948).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote an essay for Canada’s Memoirabilia Magazine about my move to Alaska and decided to turn it into a poem, after I saw the Silver Birch Press call for submissions about moving to a new place.

Lois Headshot 7

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lois Paige Simenson moved to Alaska from Montana in 1983. She recently retired from the U.S. Department of the Interior after 35 years in Anchorage. Lois’ work has appeared in The Anchorage Press, Memoirabilia Magazine, and online at 49 Writers and Erma Bombeck Humor Writers.org. She enjoys writing her blogs, and guest blogging. Her most recent work has appeared in The Hill Congress Blog, The Washington DC Metro Bugle, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She’s currently working on a memoir, The Butte Girls Club, and a novel, Otter Rock.