Saturday, January 29, 2011

Déjà View

Remember that odd feeling of smelling something that triggers a memory, or when a color inspires a mood, or a physical sensation that gives you pause, and or a sound that sends chills up your spine. We seem to carry around these fingerprints of memories that are embedded in us from the earliest years of infancy. Our bodies seem to automatically react to scents, sensations, colors, and sounds, kind of like, déjà view. 

When the sun rose up to meet the sky the other morning, I not only noticed the beautiful colors, but when I breathed in the cold, crisp air, it made my nose tingle and burn. It reminded me somewhat, of when you take your first bite of barbecued pork that is dipped in hot, yellow mustard, covered with sesame seeds. That burning sensation, that travels up your nose and into your sinus cavities, and you swear that you will never do that again.

Smells trigger strong reactions in us. Like when I walked into the Wood Center women’s bathroom, after the brisk walk up to the view point and back, to watch the sunrise. As soon as I opened the door, the smell of disinfectant penetrated my nose. Not so over whelming that I wanted to gag or cover my nose, but just enough to let me know that it must have been recently cleaned. In a way, I guess that was comforting feeling knowing that someone was on the job. That smell was familiar to me and made me think of hospital smells. It smells clean, but there’s always some other underline scent that you just can’t place. Not too much time spent in the bathroom at the Wood Center, or at the hospital.

The clock rang out, as I walked towards the Gruening Building from the Wood Center, it chimes eleven o’ clock. I entered into the Gruening Building, third floor, and the first thing I heard was the soft swooshing sound of the elevator doors closing. I was there in between classes and the halls were eerily quite. I was use to the hustle and bustle of students shuffling from one class to another. For a few minutes, I was the only one standing there and I noticed how cold, grey and concrete everything was. I reached out and touched the wall; it was cold, but felt bumpy and slick. I could hear someone shuffling their feet coming down the stairs and it made an echoing sound. This place reminds me of one of those B horror movies, that you find yourself saying, just run you idiot. It was pretty creepy there for a few minutes and my mind was getting a little to creative.

As I go throughout my day and start heading home, I’ve encounter smells, colors, sensations and sounds that remind me of memories, places and experiences. Like, I said in the beginning, kind of like déjà view. Yes, I know the spelling is incorrect, but it is a play on words, considering that you don’t always need your eyes to see things and compare. You can use your sense of smell, your hearing and touch to experience the world around you.

I’ve arrived, my mind, and body start to relax, home with my family.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Reflections about “The Writer as Alaskan: Beginnings and Reflections

As I read this piece of literature, my mind kept wondering back to my first winter in Fairbanks, Alaska. I was a California girl and had never experienced anything like 20 degrees, let alone -45, darkness and most of all SNOW. Was I crazy, what was I doing here?  I could turn back, but what would I really be going back to?

It felt like a different world that I had stepped into and I was a most willing participate. What a wonderful, exhilarating experience of leaving all of your baggage behind and seeing the world around you with new eyes. What a freeing feeling and a sense of strength I felt by the whole experience. Even watching snowflakes float down and hit the window, caught my fascination. I was amazed at how delicate and intricate each and every one was. As I watched the auroras for the first time that winter, they took my breath away. I had never seen anything like them before, and I remember how it made me feel so insignificant compared to what Mother Nature was showing me that evening. 

This piece also made me think about the old timers that are no longer here. I did have the opportunity to meet some of these characters, “Sourdough’s” as they say. They always seemed to have a story to tell and you never knew how much of the tall tale was true. One such tale was how to become a Sourdough. You had to pee in the Yukon, wrestle a bear and make love to Eskimo. After this was accomplished, your friends could no longer call you a cheechako.  But, one thing I do know for sure is that you don’t mess with anybody’s sluice box, unless you’re helping them retrieve their riches, if you value your life.

I have been lucky to have had a solid foundation of a home life and a place that I could always retreat to and feel safe. For me, I have always needed a place that I could call my own, a place to de-compress and re-charge. A place, that one can be themselves, without feeling pressured by the outside world, a safe haven, a sense of security. A special place that I can create, and have no worries about the likes, and dislikes of someone else. You make your own special place in this world, either you know it right away or it develops over time. Experiencing new places and trying new things is a wonderful gift, you know you’re alive. Yes, Alaska may not be like it was 40 years ago, or even 10 years ago, but there is so much that Alaska has to offer a person. They just have to be willing to clear away all the baggage and get rid of any pretentious ideas and really experience Alaska for what she is. 

Most of the writing in this piece did resonate with me and made me reflect upon my blessed life and what I have to look forward to. This piece of poetry about the beauty of Alaska kind of sums it up.

 There is a beauty,
odd and distant at times,
to this place
that is not lost in the darkness.
You yearn for these mountains,
ache to touch the skyline.
And sounding the wind's siren call
into your soul with each breath,
you are drawn to search
for its pulse,
full certain you will never hold it for long
but sure that it is what beats
in your veins.
You are held
in this unforgiving prison
by your own inability
to keep its mountain walls
like this always.

Published by Amanda Brandenberg

Friday, January 21, 2011

Current Reading, " The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe"

My youngest daughter, Raquel and I are reading "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. We were inspired to read the series after seeing the latest movie, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". Our deal is to read at least four pages each every night to each other, at her bedtime. We both received Nooks for Christmas and this is helping us become more experienced with this new piece of equipment, and read together at the same time.
After watching some of the movies made from the books and reading some of the passages from this book, it occurred to me that there was some underline meanings that were subtle, but yet there. I did a quick search on this author and learned a little bit more about his life and  works. There, I was able to answer some of my questions, mainly dealing with religious beliefs.

Mini Bio

I grew up in Morro Bay, California, called the "Central Gold Coast". I graduated from Morro Bay High School, and became experienced in surfing,watching skateboarding, fishing, horseback riding, and in general goofing off most of the time. I came to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1980, mostly looking for employment/career. I began working right away, at "Lamonts", in which I remained there, for over 10 years, as the Operations Personnel Manager.Then I went on to work for the State of Alaska, for another 10, as a Work Force Development Specialists. In the meantime, I married and we celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary. We have 3 beautiful children, ranging in age from 24 to 10 years of age. I have since stopped working in the traditional sense. I have ventured into the art scene, where I have taught painting in my studio, sold my art-work, and have enjoyed experimenting in all the medias. Over the past years, I have found myself always curious about the law and how it works. I decided that it was time to go back to school to get a Paralegal Degree, and do my artwork on a smaller scale. I haven't figured out a way to incorporate them both, but I have plenty of time to muse on this.