This past weekend we spent in my home town of Gustavus, which is - in many ways - a dog and people heaven about 60 miles northwest of Juneau. The population is somewhere around 450 year 'round and swells in the summer with seasonal folks. The 4th of July celebration is a community gathering, for many it's their only day off all summer, making for busy visiting and catching up by everyone.
Growing up in Gustavus is what taught me to value community - in the truest sense of the word. Taking care of each other during hard times and remaining friends and neighbors even when you don't vote the same way or agree on local politics is not always an easy thing to do. None the less the support of the community is always there when times are tough, dinners delivered, monies raised, shoulders offered to cry on. Some of the hardest things become small miracles in a way - as the town holds each other up through their shared grief, or works together to support a community member going through a difficult time.
Going back there is always a bright spot for us, even if we can't do it as much as we'd like. Those people are my people, that place is my place, no matter how long I haven't been there, it is all a part of me. This trip we spent time fishing in the rain, visiting with friends, feasting on fresh crab and halibut pulled from the sea that day and clams canned this spring and put up for the season. Salads were filled with fresh garden greens and of course, the wine tasted perfect with everything.
It was a good weekend - filled with good people and good food. Rosie played on the beach, walked in the woods and fished on the sea bundled in my rain coat. She spent most of the day on the 4th tucked in my coats with her head peaking out to see what was going on and to greet friends. She came home exhausted from a fun and busy weekend.
Yesterday afternoon we landed back in Juneau and drove straight to the harbor to pick up a fresh white king salmon from a local fisherman, we took it home and processed it for the freezer, keeping a piece out for dinner with my sister and our friend Katie who is family. We harvested fresh greens from the garden for a salad, fresh garden chard was steamed for a side dish, and Katie made rhubarb dessert with rhubarb picked just for the occasion.
As we all sat around the table, eating an amazing bounty of fresh, local and delicious food, I looked at Rosie snoozing on her bed in front of the crackling fire, at the rain and wind pounding outside and at my family and thought, it really does not get much better than this moment, right here, right now. The perfect end to the perfect weekend. I could not have been more thankful.