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The River Runs Through It: Soldotna, Alaska

overcast 15 °C

BGM: The Way We're Going by Michael Tomlinson

Soldotna, Alaska (Circa 2001)

Soldotna, Alaska (Circa 2001)

Funny how sometimes, the traveler leaves home, yet home leaves not the traveler.

Home for me isn't a material structure: all the houses I ever lived in are now owned by people I don't know. Home to me has nothing to do with political borders. While I was growing up, my family frequented a number of cities for our daily lifestyle, so to just choose one and call it "the best" doesn't make sense. The whole of Southcentral Alaska was my stomping grounds, my school, my church. And as an adult, northern Alaska and the Japanese Archipelago took over those roles. But I love them all, and each place I ever lived has shaped me in ways that I keep discovering.

My journey begins in Soldotna, Alaska -the tiny spot on the globe where I breathed my first gulps of air. Soldotna is such a small town, that whenever I type the name in, MS Word always underlines it in bright red. No, Computer, it's not a mistake. Soldotna isn't a typo. It's an honest town with a wide, fast rushing river running through. Dotted with lakes, wetlands and huge patches of black spruce and birch forests, Soldotna is part of what the Dena'ina people called Yaghanen (the Good Land). Quaking Aspen

Quaking Aspen

Though it's been over a decade now since I've lived there, I still can hear moose gently stepping through the willows, stopping to chew on green, woody stems. The quaking aspen still call out to me -the leaves rattling musically like rain sticks. I still smell the fragrance of Sitka roses and spirea blossoms in the warm noon sunlight. My skin still remembers the luxuriant, fuzzy moss of a favorite log where I'd sit and read. These things never leave the heart.

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And then there's that river!

Milky amazonite blue, even on cloudy days, the Kenai River runs through Soldotna as its jugular vein, supplying her people with food, income and inspiration as she rolls steady onward towards Cook Inlet. This river has been my jugular of sorts as well, reminding me all the while that I do indeed have roots, despite my journey. A part of me is always sitting on my favorite flat rock under the bridge, fully absorbed in the sound of her rushing symphony, accented with the piping melodies of kittiwakes and arctic terns.

You just gotta go and hear it for yourselves.

Posted by GenkiLee 03:55 Archived in USA Tagged salmon alaska kenai_peninsula kenai_river soldotna

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