Friday, November 30, 2007

Lights off Yakutat Bay

While sailing up the coast of Alaska, I often wondered about those lonely lights I’d see occasionally on the shore. Streetlights? Not likely. A cabin or house right by the shore? Quite possible. But definitely a sign of civilization and most likely at the end of a power line.

In the late-night semi-darkness of the Alaskan summer, you see shapes and your imagination takes over. Are those mountains or just clouds? Is that a whale or only a large log? Hard to tell.

Along the coastline, you see hills, trees, bays and that stray light or two. Then one is moving and you make out that it has running lights – it’s a boat of some size, but you can’t tell because in Alaska you see further than in the Lower 48.

Off in the distance are a lot of lights, like a lighted circus wagon or maybe a big lighted wedding cake. It’s another cruise ship heading toward you. Those who came to live here seeking peace, quiet and dark nights now have to put up with these large, brightly-lighted floating circus wagons (or so they must seem).

As the ships pass at a respectful distance, you think of the Titanic: all lighted up, going full speed into the darkness, headed for disaster. You know icebergs never go this far south from the glaciers north of us, but the sight is vivid. All you need is the ship’s band playing “Autumn,” or “Nearer, My God, To Thee” on deck.

1 Comments:

Anonymous RuthC said...

Such a serene memory you have evoked today.
I remember well my first cruise to Alaska, and that brief period every night when it was dark at sea level, yet never truly dark in the sky. As I looked toward the shore I would see a light or two, and wonder Who? Why? What was going on over there?

December 01, 2007 11:25 AM  

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