I can’t thank you enough for my 2 weeks of vacation and 4 weeks of sabbatical! Gale and I traveled by air to Alaska with John and Nessa (youngest son and the love of his life). We saw humpback whales, harbor seals, sea otters, sea lions, puffins, bald eagles, Tundra swans, moose, caribou, muskox, wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, a porcupine and my brother-in-law. We stayed in interesting bed and breakfast establishments. On July 4 we took a flight-seeing tour of Denali National Park in a 185 Cessna that held only the 4 of us and the pilot. We visited a charming Russian Orthodox church, Native American cultural center, museums, The Ulu Factory, and the Anchorage Botanical Gardens. We ate fireweed ice cream and saw birch syrup being collected. We drove along Turnagain Arm and boated out into Prince William Sound. We visited Exit Glacier and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. And we spent a total of 14 hours flying there and back!
It is common for Alaskan summer weather to be overcast and damp. Our weather was beautiful! The temperature was in the low 70’s during the day and the high 50’s at night. The sun shone and the places we stayed had black-out shades to make sleeping easier since it gets dark for a very short time in the wee hours this time of year.
Denali (in native language “the Great One”), also called Mt. McKinley, is the highest peak in N. America. It is so massive it creates its own weather and is completely snow and ice covered. It is usually shrouded in clouds and visible less than 20% of the time. Alaskan residents say, “Denali is out today” when conditions make sight of the mountain possible. Gale has visited when Denali was hidden his entire trip. While we were there it was visible for the first 7 days!
Alaska and Texas feel like different countries. The summer workforce in Alaska is filled with Russian/Polish/Ukraine young adults and Native Americans. The people we saw looked like hikers/climbers /bicyclists or people who were really into eating bear meat and berries. We didn’t see a single What-a-Burger until we were back in Texas!
I am reminded that God’s creation is more diverse, colorful, and adventurous than I normally notice. I am also amazed by the wide variety of background, language, and experience spread out among the people of the earth.
Creation is beautiful, fearsome, elegant, raw, comforting, life-threatening, and colorful…….and God is in all of it. And God’s people are beautiful, fearsome, elegant, raw, comforting, life-threatening and colorful. How wonderful that we are all God’s people!
Rev. Marcia Hagee
She graduated from Duke University and the University of Missouri-Columbia studying Psychology and Religion. She earned her M. Div at Phillips Theological Seminary and was ordained by the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).