What's in Alaska?

My last assigned reading at Colorado College is Raymond Carver’s “What’s in Alaska?”


It’s kind of perfect. I think it’s perfect, even if it challenges the way I’ve constructed nature and the idea of the place–any place–in my mind. Even if it’s not an ode to Alaska and Fairbanks and moving to such an obscure place.

Today, in Colorado Springs, it snowed and snowed and snowed. My last Colorado snow. It’s expected to be in the 80s next weekend, graduation weekend. I’ll miss this. I will miss Pike’s Peak. Bright and high. I will miss these streets. The sharpness of the mountains the next morning. The white on bright spring green. The gentle fall. Soft and cool, quiet. What will the snow be like in Fairbanks? Google tells me it snows about 70 inches a year in Fairbanks, compared to Colorado Springs’s 37 inches. And in Fairbanks, it can plummet down to -50 degrees. In Colorado Springs, we freak out at 0. I will miss taking lame photos from my car. Because–TRAGEDY–I’m no longer driving to Alaska. It doesn’t make sense to shell out extra thousands of dollars (that I don’t have) simply for the comfort and convenience of having my car. So my car will wait three (one? two?) years in California until I return and I will instead journey via the clouds.

I work my last shift in the Ruth Barton Writing Center on Tuesday. I’ve only worked in this little nest of the library for a year, but it’s home. it’s become home. The people. The walls. The cubbies. The floor. I’m often found on the floor. I’ll be tutoring in the Writing Center at Fairbanks (it’s part of my TA-ship agreement), but I suspect it won’t be the same. It won’t be here. It’ll be there. Until it becomes here. Does that make sense? We had our end of the year party on Friday–the Writing Center–and in every photo from the event, I’m grinning or laughing or trying not to laugh in every single photo. Happy. I don’t know if I can usually recognize my own happiness in photos, but hell, you know, I was–I am–happy.


Please excuse my scattered brain, I only have three days left of being an undergraduate. Would you think it’s a bit over dramatic if I told you I cry at random every hour? Like on the floor can’t breathe can’t stop sobs. Maybe it’s a bit dramatic, but whatever. It’s who I am. It’s how I am. This is big. This is unlike anything I’ve done before. I’m graduating. I’m actually going to graduate. And then I leave Colorado Springs for a summer in California and then I’ll attempt to make a new home in Alaska. Perhaps it’s silly, but I take comfort in these small signs. Meeting folk in the Sprout’s check out line from Alaska. My last assigned reading’s title and subject matter. Our screening of the Grizzly Man . All signs point to Alaska.


But until then, I’m here. Right here. Colorado Springs. And it’s beautiful and painful and warm in the homiest of ways, and though I’ve forgotten how to sleep, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.