In 2008, I left Skagway to be with my Grandpa Joy in the last year of his life. Among many talents, my Grandpa was an avid gardener in his able years. It was a great sadness for him when he lost the ability to tend his roses and care for his modest yard. One of my favorite memories of our last summer together was going to the Tacoma Farmers Market with him and Mom. He lit up seeing all the fresh flowers. I bought him a photo of sunflowers that day. It hung in his living room until his death. Since then, it has hung in my bedroom, reminding me daily of the strong and beautiful man that helped me in so many ways through my life. 

Now, it also reminds me of Ukraine and the strong and beautiful people who are fighting for their right to live freely. 

I heard someone complain about a daily inconvenience we experience in Skagway, calling it “the worst.” It’s not the worst. We are so blessed to be here in this time and place, despite the inconveniences, despite the uncertainties and fears about the upcoming year. The worst is to live in a land where your neighbor bombs your children’s hospital. The worst is being told there is a secure space for you to flee fighting only to have the ones promising safety bomb the path you tread. 

We are blessed. Please, let’s all do our best to be thankful for the lives we enjoy and to do what we are able to help those who do not enjoy the blessings we find at home. Peace to you, my friends. 

Peace to Ukraine.

– Wendy Anderson