4 minute read
Are You Military?
August 7, 2019
Come, view this world.
See it as an ornate festive carriage.
See how fools are entranced by their visions,
yet for the wise there is no attachment.
In case you don’t know, this entire website is a giant long-term project documenting our family and the various projects we spin-off from the thinking we do about kinship and creativity. It integrates a lot of our experience into creative sub-projects and stream-of-consciousness articles like this one. And, if you’ve read a few of our blog entries or viewed our works, you might have noticed we move around periodically. You may have even asked yourself something like, “why the hell would anyone go through that trouble?”
Well — yeah.
After stopping in Washington for a while, Alaska is our third location in three and a half years. Chugiak, to be accurate, which is about 25 miles from a military base north of Anchorage. Our proximity to the base might be why everyone we’ve met has asked if we are a military family — because no one ever assumes people volunteer the time and cost of moving.
All the images below were taken with my iPhone 7.
Even though we didn’t leave for Alaska until the first of July, our journey started from San Francisco in early June by way of a leisurely road trip with the Davenports. The 1400 mile trek through sequoia forests and along the Pacific coast made us realize how little time we spend together, and showed us how fortunate we are to love friends who put up with the 4500 miles now between us.
We’ve been just a little disoriented ever since we arrived in Chugiak. It started when we stepped out of the moving truck into the 85 degree heat that none of us were expecting — the house has no air conditioning, so bringing our stuff in was a moist affair. Since everyone in the lower 48 always asks about the sunlight, you probably know about that situation — just don’t bother trying to tell time by looking at the sky. That doesn’t work: it was so bright we didn’t even realize we finished unloading the moving truck at 1AM.
Up here the extremely shallow path of the evening sun makes for long sunsets, and the “Golden Hour” is more like eight hours long. When the clouds are broken in the evenings, daylight is spectacular, and the masks we must use to keep it out of our sleeping eyes are a damn good tradeoff for that.
Imagine restarting over half your life every two or three years by reducing and cycling through the packing process, leaving loved friends and making new ones, giving up established routines and learning how to live another life in a new location. This is what happens every time we move. Even though the experience can be exhausting, with every cycle we learn more about ourselves.
People often ask about the lack of roots and the reason we choose constant resettling. It’s a difficult answer to receive if you aren’t already open to our viewpoint and the concept of randomness. No one ever wants to hear the security they feel from their life decisions is not real, and most people just don’t understand us.
But, so far, Alaska has been agreeable. It was surprising to learn that Anchorage is the most diverse city in the country, which is a pleasant change after living in probably the most homogenous situation possible. We are so relaxed among the culture here that even the dogs can sense our calm, and they often fall asleep at our feet.
Adapting to a routine in a new location is a slow process requiring flexibility and the willingness to change. But our ability to find comfort in the unfamiliar helps us understand how little meaning there is in seeking comfort from anything. To understand what that means, you have to experience it yourself. If you’re interested, drop us a line because we’d love to talk about it.