I was on a regular routine. Of waking up to a certain feeling of light. A little before 8, right between astronomical and nautical twilight in Unalaska. The sun is sitting about 12 to 18 degrees below the horizon. Certainly my husband’s banging around with the coffee in the morning was always my first alarm. Way before the butt crack of dawn, but I could readily go back to sleep, somehow, with him grinding coffee beans and banging, literally, the grinder on the counter top to get the fine grounds out of the lid. So with the spring forward yesterday, it was totally disconcerting to wake up to very dark again. In fact, this morning, it certainly wasn’t the nautical twilight waking me up, but my grandson, who is on spring break this week, saying “Grandma. I’m here.”
Yesterday morning I remember saying to myself oh my god, how can I survive going back into the dark. Then I go outside at 9:20 pm last evening and snap this photo of the view from the end of my driveway. What am I complaining about? I’m making up the light at the other end of the clock.
In 1910 an International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that every year in each country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. Thus International Women’s Day was born.
In my strong, matriarchal society of Unangan women in Unalaska, I have had many stellar examples upon which to base my life attitude. My mother, Gert Svarny, continues the values and ethics that her mother Alice Hope instilled in her. Even my younger sister and my own daughters have taught me a thing or two about strength and character. I am lucky to have a public reference about my grandmother to show my children and grandchildren how devoted she was to her community, by the love shown her at her death. In his book Moments Rightly Placed, author Ray Hudson writes: Then on the afternoon of December 4, 1966, Alice Hope died in Washington state. The next day a service for this deeply loved woman was held at Unalaska, and when her body arrived five days later, Anfesia (Shapsnikoff) assisted Father Ishmael Gromoff in yet another service. Anfesia stayed all night with her departed friend, in the company of the Hope children and grandchildren and friends, until the service at the church on December 11th. Anfesia noted in her diary, “had Liturgy with Mrs. Hope’s body; after funeral service walked her up all the way.” Carrying the coffin the length of the village from the church to the graveyard was an act of uncommon devotion.
Who is the woman, or women, in your life who have guided you on your path? Gentlemen…this is a question for you also.
I have come to the possible conclusion that when I post something to a ‘page’, it doesn’t get recognized by wordpress as a real post. Tell me if I am wrong. I have posted the above titled piece on my Subsistence page.