Plenty of eagles have stayed close in this summer and at times seem to fill the air. The otters have made frequent visits to Potatopatch Lake and come near the shore to see what you have to offer. The ducks are hatching and the little ones follow after their mothers to learn the lessons of life. The hills, forests and trails are alive with greenery, flora and fauna of all types.
While we enjoy so many things that are part of this island, my wife and I are not fishermen. That takes at least one temptation away that wants to call us apart from our work during these wonderful days we have had. As someone who has been here for a short while now, I thought it might be interesting to share an outsider’s viewpoint into this community and the lessons we have learned.
Lesson No. 1: We have learned that “normal” weather is whatever happened last week or last year at this time. It may or may not have any correlation with actual weather patterns or trends like those you might gather from the weather office. I have yet to determine whether this phenomenon is caused by poor memory or high turnover of people. Arlo Guthrie once said, “If you can remember the ’60s, you weren’t there.” That may apply to Kodiak in any generation. It may be as simple as knowing that our weather changes fast enough on a daily basis, that at any point during that day our weather may be “normal” for this time of year. Whatever the reason, this has brought about a spirit of acceptance when our weather is anything but normal.
Lesson No 2: While we are an island filled with history, most of us came from somewhere else. Less than 10 percent of our population is native to Alaska. Part of the reason for that is our Coast Guard base. Coast Guardsmen and their families make up a significant part of our population and they have the normal rotation turnovers that are part of their profession.
Our fishing community and the businesses that are part of it, from our fishing fleet to the canneries and processors, to the transportation industry that moves people, product and stuff in and out of our community are transient by nature. Boats and crews come and go. Cannery workers come and go.
Airplanes and barges and container freight come and go.
That, coupled with our tourism industry that draws people in to fish and see our bears and other wildlife, continues to make us transient.
That turnover of people has brought about a spirit of acceptance for our differences as well as our likeness that helps make us a friendly place to visit.
From our weather to our people, the community of Kodiak is a great place to find acceptance. The Scriptures refer to God’s people as “aliens” or “pilgrims” passing through. This world is not our home, it is merely a stop on our journey.
We are all passing through on our way to eternity. I hope that we will always be accepting people. Accepting of our weather in its ups and downs as well as accepting of strangers in our midst. Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”