Ellen Sutphin

Every year when we close out our fair, we do so knowing that we will not see someone at our next opening. I did not imagine that person would be Ellen.

New Year’s Eve, 2020

2020 was a rough year, but one that can give us hope for the years to come. We saw greater civic engagement and, amongst all the cynicism, a real feeling that government CAN be better in the new year, and in all that follow.

Christmas Eve, 2020.

The decorations went up early, but the preparations took longer. Were I not looking at a calendar, I would not know tomorrow was Christmas. It’s sneaking up on me for the first time in my ...

First Christmas

COVID-19 has made Stan Rogers’s ‘First Christmas’ a song for us all. As a part of my own meditation on not making it home this year, I’ve written a verse: She’s always thinking of how ...

Thanksgiving Telephone

Today I am thankful for our telecommunications network. Growing up, it would take 3 or 4 tries to get a circuit off the island for a call to loved ones who expected a call on ...

Halloween, 1993

There is a truism in research that you find what you look for. The bias inherent in the question will always influence the answer, making the question the most essential part of the equation. I ...

Hospice in the time of COVID

COVID has taken a second family elder.  Two otherwise unrelated cases spread across different states, but they have given me an understanding of how the virus has changed the meaning of hospice.  God willing, you’ll ...

Distancing Social Media

There was always that guy in class with whom you’d never agree. Each brought their experiences (and sources) to the class texts. Each came up with different interpretations as to what the texts meant. Then, ...

Thunderstruck, by Eric Larson

Eric Larson has a fantastic narrative style that teases the story out of history. He writes about events that shaped our world so that in the middle of the story, the reader can forget how ...

Self-evident

Traditionally I post the Declaration of Independence on The Fourth. This year, I decided that focusing word for word on the language of the 18th Century is a poor way to celebrate a document that ...

Jeff Davis street

While there is a national debate on monuments and statues, it’s worth talking about more than just the Confederates. Sitka has a street named for Jeff Davis (the Union one, not the Confederate President) Davis ...

Relearning Curiosity

It’s time for my semi-regular series, things I’m learning from my son: It’s fascinating watching a young one grow. Every day there is a new thing to see, to discover, to *KNOW.* With so many ...

Aunt Janice

I’m going to ask a favor of you. Imagine the best storyteller you know. The one who can sit and wait her turn, knowing full well that nothing is going to top what she is ...

The First Easter

As Christians, we tend to celebrate Easter like it was Palm Sunday. We gather and say “he has risen” with the same enthusiasm the Palm Sunday crowds cheered “hosanna, ” not knowing what was to ...

Remembering Music

Today’s installment of things I have (re)learned from my son: I’ve been singing. A lot. I have gone through my most recent repertoire and had to keep going until I’ve found songs I have not ...

Relearning Patience

Another in the occasional series “things I learn from my son.” Nothing teaches how to be frustrated at a situation without being frustrated at a person quite like being home with a sick kiddo. He’s ...

Rembering How to Sing

The difference between a tourist and a traveler is in what they are willing to bring home. Tourists may buy souvenirs, but except to return to an unchanged home. Travelers return with stories that can ...

The Message of Colonialism

In one of the seminal works on media analysis, Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message.” The idea is that the medium has a symbiotic relationship with the message itself. TV gravitates to ...

Asking for Help

Things I’m learning from my son: Every animal learns the necessary survival skills first. A horse can run within hours of birth. An adder can bite. A human baby can ask for help. I think ...

Brian

One of my oldest friends died this weekend. I’d like to tell you how we met. Brian Kokke and I shared a few things in common: Bad backs, bad speech, and very good imaginations. A ...

There There

There There, by Tommy Orange, was the May book of the month for the radio show Native America Calling. It’s an incredible book. I obviously can’t speak to how well it represents urban Indian life; ...

How does it feel…

Many people have asked me in the last few weeks how it feels to be a papa. I generally hedge, I deflect the question saying it’s too soon to tell or that it’s not really ...

The Things we Build

To all of you who are a part of the Three Barons Fair: I think it’s sometimes easy for us to focus on just the part of the fair we participate in directly. We can ...

April Fools

The following is an old piece of writing long thought lost. April first is a time of jest, when people test their wits and compare their pranks to decide which comes out best. The competition ...

Another Shutdown

I’m reading a lot of discussion about who “won” and who “lost” the government shutdown. Spoiler alert, we all lost. The arguments for both sides are, of course, compelling. The reality is that the House ...

Pantopol

I was flipping through some of my pictures when this one surfaced. It’s the sculpture Pantopol, by Ted Jonsson, at SeaTac international airport. I’ve always liked this sculpture. It’s one that appears to change from ...

Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing leader. Facing down institutional violence, he was able to talk about the long arc of history bending towards justice. He could see further ahead than the rest ...

The Meaning of Everything

“The Meaning of Everything” is not my favorite Simon Winchester book, but that’s kind of like saying La Belle Heaulmiere is not my favorite piece by Rodin. Both artists have done much more approachable work. ...