Saturday, November 15, 2008

A different train of thought....

I was wondering around in blogland one day and came across someone's photo of their Alaska it got me to thinking. I have a stash of books about the north country; at least that is what I call it. I am not sure when I developed this obsession. I really am not. I cannot remember if it started with Tisha by Robert Specht as told by Anne Hobbs. (By the way, it is a true story.) I know it was one of the first books I ever read about Alaska...
Or it might have started with an old movie I caught on television called O Rugged Land of Gold. The next time I was at the library, I did a search and they had the book....again a true story, written by Martha Martin. Whichever started my obsession, it is one I really enjoy. I have not read all of the Robert W. Service poems--at least not at one sitting. I tend to pick them up and read a poem or two when I am in the mood. Also not read at one sitting, but I pick up and read bits and pieces in the Biographies of the Alaska/Yukon. And I have not read Innocent in Alaska...not sure why. I do keep forgetting I have it. It will do for some winter reading.
But I have read all the others, most of which are nonfiction...and several of them I have read numerous times. And will probably read a few more times in my lifetime.

Then there is probably my favorite poem of all is long, but I ask you to please read it through. I was browsing in the bookstore one time and picked up a book of poetry...I was looking for another poem and happened to come across The Spell of the Yukon by Robert W. Service...I had tears come to my eyes by the time I read it through...I thought it so beautiful. I cannot pick a favorite verse, but oh the last one just grabs my heart so. So I hope you read it and enjoy it just a tiny bit...

The Spell of the Yukon

Robert W. Service

I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy, I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it --
Came out with a fortune last fall, --
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all.

No! There's the land. (Have you seen it?)
It's the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it's a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there's some as would trade it
For no land on earth -- and I'm one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it's been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That's plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o' the world piled on top.

The summer -- no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness --
O God! how I'm stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I've bade 'em good-by -- but I can't.

There's a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land -- oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back -- and I will.

They're making my money diminish;
I'm sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I'm skinned to a finish
I'll pike to the Yukon again.
I'll fight -- and you bet it's no sham-fight;
It's hell! -- but I've been there before;
And it's better than this by a damsite --
So me for the Yukon once more.

There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting;
It's luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.

It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.

Another day with a second post....

Just realized earlier that this is actually the first post for today...don't ask me how I got so mixed up. Yesterday was not such a good day...had a BAD headache all day...and sore from something else.
I posted these at one time on my other blog. They were taken long before I had a digital camera.
These are scans from slides which was developed in October of 1994. This was just a single old tree along the side of a country road. I could not believe my eyes when I spotted these babies up there.

I think this last baby is just soooo cute.