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Comments Off on Our Town – February 13, 2020

Our Town – February 13, 2020

| Guest Written, Housing, Library, Nan Metashvili, Our Town | February 13, 2020

The Soupster is thoughtful, hopeful & sad.

Submitted By Nan Metashvili

It was a typical Our Town day. Rain drizzled down, fog drifted around the forests like old spirits, and cold waves sloshed resolutely against the shore.

The Soupster was heading towards one of his favorite haunts, the library.

Though not as cozy as the old library, the new one still filled his needs. It was warm and dry, and its services were freely available to all. He would spend time reading the papers and check out a few books to feed his insatiable appetite for reading. With some amusement and no little sadness, he noted that 9.5 out of 10 people scattered around were reading, writing or playing on some sort of electronic device. Not many books to be seen, the old-fashioned kind, that is.

The smell of a brand-new volume to him was indescribable. He positively enjoyed the tactile sensation of turning pages, and the ease of flipping back to reread some passage. Many a time did he find it necessary to refresh his memory about some point mentioned 6 chapters ago. The Soupster was not shy about admitting he was getting on a bit and his little grey cells weren’t what they used to be. And he loved the elegance of choosing just the right bookmark to insert to keep his place. He had a whole collection of them.

As much as he loved reading books, there was also the social side of the library. No cold city institution, Our Town’s library was a lively place where friendships were formed and nurtured, where lonely after-school kids could safely hang out, and where even a few romances had happened. He could always count on finding a pal there to chat with.

As the Soupster picked up a recent nonfiction bestseller to sit and browse through, he noticed the person next to him. The two men both could sit there and gaze out at the unparalleled view of the ocean and small islands, the skiffs and trollers and sailboats going past. They could stay until closing time. They could use the bathroom.

But at closing time, the Soupster could go home to a comfortable and welcoming home, and the other chap obviously could not. Homeless was written all over him, from the shabby clothes, unwashed odor, and the look of sadness and fear in his eyes. Where will he go when the library closes? Out into the rain, and then?

The Soupster started to wonder why the town had to be so difficult for low income folks. Why could they not follow the example of some other communities around the country and take care of all their citizens?

Tiny houses, for example. He had lately been reading about places building tiny houses. Why did people crave McMansions anyway, when a smaller and adequate abode would do? Wouldn’t it be grand if Sitka could commit in a significant way to small and available homes?

The Soupster smiled sadly at the homeless man as the closing time lights flickered.

Then they both left the library.

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 19, 2019

Our Town – December 19, 2019

| Animals, Ghosts/Spirits, Guest Written, Nan Metashvili, Our Town, Ravens, Tourists | December 19, 2019

The Soupster and his companion regard a woman.

Submitted By Nan Metashvili

A bemused out-of-season tourist was wandering around town. She had made it as far as Totem Park and was enthralled with the eerie images high atop the poles. That looks like a Raven, she thought with awe, glancing from the carved image atop a pole, to the shiny black bird hopping around in the branches above her, and making sonorous clonking calls. The light rain did not seem to bother the tourist and the lack of any other people around also pleased her.

As she strolled – following her local Japanese custom of “forest bathing” – her worries eased and a feeling of contentment and rightness dawned. Yes, the giant cedars were soothing and the chattering of Ravens made perfect sense.

Then she approached an open area, with signs explaining that it was the site of a great battle. Many years ago the Tlingit people, in their fort of young saplings, had fought against the Russian occupiers of their lands. A feeling of admiration and solidarity came over her as she read about Katlian and his battle against the foreign invaders. Her own people, the Ainu in the far north of Japan, had met with similar troubles.

But then out of the corner of her eye, she saw a strange little creature. Very strange. A creepy feeling started to rise up from her very kidneys, and little tingles of fear grew, like spiny prickles of sea urchins on bare feet. The creature seemed not quite human, with whiskers long as sorrow, a furry, pointy face and teeth as sharp as ignorance. It leered at her.

Fat rain filled clouds crossed the sky; it grew dark and she became more and more uneasy.

A soft chortle of laughter then caught her attention, and she turned to see two shadowy figures climbing up from the rocky beach to the path under the trees. “Psst! Nels!” called the Soupster, “is that a Kushtaka over there? Making funny faces at that poor lady who is getting worried?”

Rain drips on spruce boughs
Berry bushes wait for sun
The surf crashes on.

With easy laughter, the two waved at her, and although the rain then came, rather heavily, it seemed the air was lighter. She glanced back at the Kushtaka, which no longer seemed frightening. It seemed more like a rather special kind of sea creature, one with rich fur and incredible swimming skills. She even smiled at it, and it seemed to smile back.

With a loud caw, the nearby raven flew off. As it took flight, an ebony feather floated to the ground. Bending over to retrieve it, the tourist noticed that it had come to land beside a tiny carved star and a miniscule wooden dreidl. “Wā” she cried.

The soft laughter from the shades on the shore faded.

She stood in the rain holding the three gifts and commented to herself
“Sitka really is very peculiar little town, but I like it.”

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Comments Off on Our Town – June 6, 2019

Our Town – June 6, 2019

| Environment, Nan Metashvili, Our Town, Poems | June 6, 2019

 

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