Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Rainy Day

I woke up to a drizzle today and it rained fitfully much of the day. Finally now at 4:00 clouds are breaking up and the sun is out. Not a good day to go exploring on roads that might not be good when wet. I found a laundromat and did up the dirty clothes from the week up here and then went up to the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska campus. It's one of the few I've visited here that has an admission fee but it is pretty impressive so I guess worth the cost. Even have to pay to park. I do recognize though that it costs plenty to operate and maintain such a facility.

They have a vast, varied and voluminous display of Alaska by region--flora and fauna, native peoples, artifacts and art and history. I took a lot of pictures which they allow. A few I got reflections off glass over displays but most of them were fairly good at first review.

I was especially taken by the basketry, beadwork and varied garments of the different native people.  I guess during the winter, if they were lucky enough to stock up on and cache food for the winter, they had time to do detailed and exquisite work. I was also impressed at similarities in some of the motifs although I do know basic geometrics are used by many in varied and diverse places. And the weavings of some, mostly the Tlingit people I believe, were beautiful too. I'm not sure at once how to incorporate such designs into any of my art and craft projects but I am sure something will occur to me  in time.

I spent close to three hours in the various galleries and displays and my legs got tired before I really saw it all thoroughly. Very impressive and well worth a look IMHO. I did see subtle connections that link the Navajo and Apache people to their distant Athabascan kin. That even extended to a sample Native house at the Pioneer Park that bears a strong resemblance to a traditional hogan with a faceted circular structure and a doorway faced east.

Apparently the Eskimo were the first to use sled dogs--again I recall from anthropology classes reading about eastern and plains tribes in the old US region who used dogs to pull drag-able pole travois to haul their goods. I suspect the women were the ones to tame and train the dogs because otherwise they would have been the beasts of burden. That might be worth mentioning in my book about the lady mushers. They may be carrying on a very old tradition. Yes, men used the sleds to hunt and haul in meat, but I'd lay a bet the women used them when it came time to move camp.

Otherwise there was not much on mushing but a lot on many facets of Alaska and life up here to include the gold rush and building of the railroad, main highway and later the pipeline. There was also a bit about the internment of Japanese and  Aleut people from out on the Aleutian chain and especially on Unalaska where a writer friend of mine lives now. That was kind of a downer and I went on by after a short time; not anything we as Americans can be proud of but in wartime many bad things are and will continue to be done. I'm not sure how to fix that.

I may get the photos unloaded later; there were a lot of them! So one more full day. I'm still trying to track down the museum with the mushers' exhibit. So far no luck. So what I end up doing will depend on the weather. Then turn the car in midday on Thursday and wait for my later afternoon flight  back to Anchorage, get another car and return to Wasilla for the final weekend.

The end approaches and I will be glad to be home among familiar things, pet my puppies and try to sort out all the amazing impressions and experiences I have enjoyed.  But as I keep saying, a part of me is already drawn to a return; there is so much more to see and do and of course more dogs, the actual races and many mushers I have not yet met. Must go to Denali for real and maybe even a little farther north though I am not sure I want to go all the way to the Arctic Circle! But never say never. Also down to the Kenai and perhaps even the far southeast area... I am a little sorry I did not get started on all this this much sooner. Were I twenty years younger... well shoot. But I have been here and I shall, like McArthur, return!!

And below you have the Native house I mentioned, the Antler Arch near the Golden Heart Plaza and First Family stature and the Yukon Quest Headquarters Building. The race starts on even years on the frozen Chena River just behind me where I shot the picture of that traditional sod roofed log cabin.The locals pronounce that with a long e, like Cheena btw.

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