Posted by: tlnemethy | July 31, 2012

Naknek Day 3

Shift three begins and I’m pretty sure my awareness is going down the drain. Fireworks are my alarm clock tonight. Happy Independence Day.

ImageI shove my feet into my boots and step gingerly onto the hard packed gravel and sand that marks the true driveway of an adventure job. Walking from my lodging to the entrance to the processing plant I realize that there is way too much sunshine in Alaska. Darkness has yet to even creep onto the horizon, yet to threaten our fears of things that go bump in the night. I’m glad. I might not mind going to faraway places all by my lonesome, but I have a prickling fear of the dark that I cannot shake. Flashlight tag with my cousins in Michigan was always a struggle, leading to my status as a wet noodle or a party pooper at times.

We are, after all, genetically programmed to fear the dark, but add to that my limited ability to see distinctly in any conditions and I will forever keep my back to safety and my hands out of my pockets while the dusk settles around me. I look around me for the bursts of light I’ve always associated with the sound of fireworks, but there are none on the horizon. I wonder what the point of even lighting fireworks is when you cannot see them. The bursts have always illuminated you briefly, acknowledging your fear and approving your bold choice to appear in the darkness if only for a short while, once a year, and in large crowds of people. Here, Alaska withholds the darkness as long as it can, perhaps compensating for its proximity to civilization through making each shift walk to work without worry or fear.

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