My 2017 Sitka Summer Fix
Sitka, Alaska is where I usually spend my summers, and where I'm increasingly realizing I feel most myself. The line of nine future sunshines on my Seattle phone make me anxious and desperate for a rainy day of watching the salmon jump from the rocks, drowning my phone through rain gear, talking to salty piney poet women, walking home to the pot of coffee that Uncle Randy keeps ready all day. A week was too short this summer, but I somehow managed to shoot three music videos and a family photoshoot, get a tattoo, see nearly all my closest friends and hold their faces, eat crab, eat halibut, eat cod, eat salmon, eat salmonberries, get into the mountains, get onto a boat, get into a sleeping bag, get lost in moss fields, and have fish n chips and Rainier while hearing my all time favorite songs on the jukebox in the P Bar.
- Art Night -
Things make sense here; the colors, smells, sounds, mist fogging the less-than-street-legal car on the way to a couple cans of beer after a magic kingdom land hike, my friends, my family, crab in exchange for childcare, sea asparagus on bruschetta. This makes sense, this makes sense, this is what the inside of my imagination looks like.
- Beaver Lake Hike -
Though Sophie has lived in Sitka for 3+ years now, she still greets each fern, each muskeg step, each towering mountain with this adorable hands up expression of awe and gratitude.
I feel my most creative in Sitka, and I know I am not the only one. Raph and I met here, three years ago, at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp. It's been incredible to watch our creative minds merge and spawn many pearls, from recording a Sitka song on the rocks with a friend holding a cheap recorder above the water, to a music video shot after our campers were asleep on the 3rd of July. It is another thing that makes sense here, Raph's voice next to Indian River.
This year Sitka was graced by the dearest songbird to my heart, Bea Troxel. Bea and I lived together in Copenhagen in 2013, and have maintained the most dreamlike pen pal relationship ever since. I wrote to her from Sitka, and dropped my phone this year when I received a text from her letting me know that she had applied to work at the camp. It was quite the union of worlds to see her singing with Raph and our new friend Aurora O'Greenfield in a place I wrote to her about for so long.
Bea recorded her new album in Nashville this year, and you'll be able to get your greedy little paws on it in September.
- Concert on The Adak -
The Adak is a WWII tugboat that sits in the Eliason harbor, a home to a rotating cast of characters, an air bnb, and now, a concert space.
- Erin, Eric, and Ever - A Sitka Family Photoshoot -
- Starrigavan -
Starrigavan is a magical kingdom often inhabited by my friend Greg, but mostly with carpeted moguls of alpine blueberries and my favorite plant (or whatever it is, is it a plant?), moss.
I live here when I dream
Now I sit on my porch in Seattle, longing already for Sitka but reminding myself that I always have a bed in Uncle Randy's woodshop office to return to whenever I save up enough Alaska Airline miles. There's something for you all to look forward to as well. Stay tuned for a simple music video involving impaired dancing, fish carts, the P Bar, and a new song from Raph Shapiro recorded by students at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.
scouting, recording, unwinding, behind the scenes (bts photos and animal control by Savannah Richmond, general everythingness and neverending support and beauty and friendship by Autumn McCumiskey)