Sunday, December 21, 2014

At perhaps checkpoint two...

To the left, I am communing with Quito, Aliy's wonderful little lead dog. She has such a sweet face and wise eyes. Her full sister Chico is the mother of the Alaskan Ginger. BTW the story of this litter, born the first of August or about then is amazing. It is available on the SP Kennel's web site and will make you cry but also rejoice. Here is the link:
Sorry it is so long; I need to learn how to do the mini-link versions! But this is a powerful story for us dog lovers.

In terms of my personal race, I'm maybe just past the second checkpoint or so. It is cold and dark and the long, hard trail stretches out into the distance, mostly unseen and only imagined for the hard and the smooth spots it holds. As Tolkien said, the road goes even on. My far distant place waits ahead...

I've almost finished Mary Shields' book and have a new order from Amazon coming in the next few days of a number of relevant tomes. I read Murder on the Iditarod Trail by Sue Henry which a friend turned me on to. As a mystery it did not seem to be on a par with some of my favorite authors' work such as Hillerman and J.A. Jance or Margaret Coel but she got most of the race stuff right. I will give her an "E" for effort and perhaps an A- for research and making the atmosphere live. Mysteries are hard to write; so far I have not managed one!

Yesterday a friend and I had a book signing at a small local store which sells used books to help support the city library. We gave a donation from our sales although they were not colossal.  The highlight of my day was a lady who bought a book but then saw my poster about The Admirable Snowwomen which is kind of a working title for my book. She picked up my brochure about this project and read my poem aloud; we both teared up. I do not think she has ever been in Alaska as I hadn't this time last year but she wants to and is another desert rat Iditarod fan. That poem was a gift to me, channeled from the minds and spirits of many who've run that incredible race. I do feel a lot from it and most readers seem to as well. Thank you to the folk whose hearts and spirits shared the emotions and visions with me. I pray for your continued help as I go on with this effort that means so much to me.

If you missed it the first time, here it is again:


Iditarod: far, distant place.
A dream. A myth. A trail. A race.

Beneath aurora blazing bright,
Through cold and wind and long, dark night.
Cheering crowds at start and end
But in between, rare is the friend
Who braves the wild to aid or say,
They’re with you in spirit along that way.
Out on that trail, just you and your team
The elements battle to chase this dream.

Those dogs on which your life depends,
Now closer and dearer than kin or friends.
Together, such trust and faith you share
For only true teamwork will get you there.
There are no losers; all winners complete.
Your goal you’ve reached and it feels so sweet.
Despite the pain and the tears you spend,
Somehow you hate to see it end.

Iditarod: far, distant place.
A goal, a dream, a test, a race.

© GMW 25 Aug 14

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"Homesick" for Alaska

Even if I have never lived there, I really miss the place!! My friend and heroine Mary Shields quoted from Robert Service in her book, Sled Dog Trails which I am reading: "And I want to go back -- and I will," Yes, oh very much yes!!

By the way, Sled Dog Trails is a delightful read, full of Mary's humor and unique outlook on everything. She's a treasure! The children's books Mary wrote are precious too and I've got a set for my great granddaughter over in Tucson for Christmas. They are about kids and dogs, of course!

It is ironic that the gray dull days here depress me--but then they are not 'normal' or expected. I think I could handle them better in Alaska where they are a rule rather than an exception. We seem to be having quite a few which make the fair and warm ones even more treasured.

I feed my Alaska longing by following some of my other heroines on their blogs and Facebook pages. It is a busy time for the mushers as they work and train their dogs, deal with injuries and the special care needed to get their teams up to peak performance for the race season which will be starting very soon. There is not a lot of snow down around Wasilla and Willow yet and not a huge amount near Fairbanks but they are all working. I read and absorb every word!

Right now it is looking iffy to get to Fairbanks for the ending of the Yukon Quest but I have not given up hope. I got a private donation of sorts that boosted my account from the rather discouraging level on my Go Fund Me page although surprises appear there periodically for which I am fiercely grateful. If it is to be, it will work out. Maybe the Iditarod in March will be possible.

It is still mostly fall here in south central New Mexico, "the promised land" as my equally desert rat brother calls it. I took photos of the golden cottonwood trees in the town's Alameda Park yesterday and then went to another site to get a picture of my Ginger, the future sled-dog Ginger's doggie God Mother pretending she, too, was going to be a sled dog. No, not snow although the white gypsum sand at the White Sands National Monument almost looks the same. But for the blue mountains in the background instead of white capped, it could be the north lands...  I want to go back--and I will!