Deep In The Forest A Call Was Sounding

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word, “Alaska”? Do you think of frigid winters, igloos, and polar bears? Do you think about a wonderful, frozen pie-like dessert? Or, Athena forbid, do you think about Sarah Palin and how she effectively painted her home state as one full of “crazies”? For me, as a kid, Alaska was something intangible. It was a place that I read about in history books, memorizing factoids for pop quizzes. For example: the 49th state received its nickname, “Seward’s Folly,” because Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 for the bargain price of $7.2 million, and some Americans still saw it as an example of wasteful government spending. In retrospect, it was a great move – Alaska provided the U.S. with natural resources, access to the Arctic, and it kept those pesky Russians out of North America (imagine what the Cold War would’ve been like if Russia had a military presence right next to us and Canada). It was a place I observed from the safety of my television, sweating in the heat of SoCal as orcas breached near icebergs and the Northern Lights swirled blue-green above the frozen landscape. It was a place that existed only in my dreams, just out of reach. (more…)