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Sonya in winter, Haines AlaskaThese photos not in book.

Sonya Katyusha and Husky, Deshu, Alaska, 1979.

We had to leave Husky in Alaska near the glacier, where he could howl at night.

California would be way to small for Husky.

Southeast Alaska Dreaming

Chapter 18

So you think you want to live in Alaska? Well, go ahead. But try moving there sometime in January, in Juneau, when the Taku Winds scream off the mountain and down Franklin Street at 100-plus miles an hour.

I could say how fast they’ve been reported but you wouldn’t believe it and I don’t either.

One afternoon, with the children in school, Lise and I walk along a little path from the house and sit on the soft, spongy groundcover that springs up so fast after the snow melts. I have the Russian balalaika that I bought in Ketchikan.

As I’m practicing the three-stringed instrument and playing a song called “Dark Eyes,” we hear a rustling in the forest. I keep on playing as a young black bear, about 400 pounds, steps out of the forest and onto the path about 20 feet away, between us and the house.

That wild animal stops for a moment and slowly turns its head toward us. I keep on playing the instrument and try not to miss a beat. I can’t be sure, but I think the creature might have swayed its massive head just slightly back and forth before moving on into the forest.

I like to think the bear appreciated the music. In any case, it all happened so quickly, so flowing with the moment, and the bear really did seem to listen.



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