Reflective God Walk

This essay was my response to the Unit 3, Day 3 assignment in the study course, “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”  I signed up for this men’s group course soon after I began attending the Baxter Road Bible Church in east Anchorage, February 2013. The basic “task” was to take a walk of at least 30 minutes, praying and reflecting on God’s love for me, and my love in return. How did I see God’s love during the walk?

For my walk, I decided to do one of my favorite outdoor recreation locations in Anchorage, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, from the Kincaid Chalet, down the hill. Continue reading

Forgiving Lighter

Note: I first wrote this January 2, 2015, while camped in southeast Arizona in a camper van I had at the time.

Ten different cats have been a part of my bachelor household for different stretches of the past 36 years. As any cat owner knows, their pets are individuals and can be independent little cusses, some more than others. Then occasionally, one joins the family who seems to be maybe not so much independent as just slow. “Slow” is a kinder term than stupid. One of my current two cats, “Lighter,” as sweet as he is, is just such a cat. I adopted Lighter (an orange tabby) and his fraternal twin brother Darker, as kittens in 2008 while I lived in Whittier, Alaska. Darker died from a wasting liver disease summer 2014, but Lighter is still going strong, along with Boots, my old-girl black-and-white “tuxedo cat.”

The latest episode of Lighter’s slowness happened just last night. Continue reading

A Gift of Whales

Genesis 1:21 (NIV)
So God created the great creatures of the sea . . . And God saw that it was good.

I see whales as gifts from their Creator from a couple different perspectives. First is the fact that they exist — they are alive on earth. Similar, but on a deeper level, is the capacity of some people to appreciate them for the magnificent creatures that they are. Just seeing whales in the wild can inspire peoples’ feelings of happiness, excitement, thankfulness, and even awe. An up-close encounter with a creature half again as long as the 30-foot boat one is watching from is an unforgettable experience, likely to turn many people into instant whale fans and conservationists. Continue reading

Ode To Creator God

Foreword Note:
Words for this piece first started coming to mind in 2005, when I lived in Whittier, Alaska, in a water-side apartment on the 12th floor of Begich Towers.  As often happened when gazing out over Passage Canal and the mountains beyond, my mind sometimes wandered to memories of other areas and happenings from the Sound.  That’s what first inspired this, and there have been lots of re-writes ever since.  I intend to eventually overlay this piece into a Ken Burns-style video that will show with photos what I try and describe with words.

Ode To Creator God

Oh Lord my God, how I adore you.
Oh Lord my God, how great You are.
For when I see Your great creation,
Your mountains, Your waters,
my heart inclines to You, oh Lord my God,
for You have made them all.
Oh Lord my God, for these I praise Your name. Continue reading

About Sound Runner

The boat I first started Sound Water Taxi with (original business name) was a 21-foot, fiberglass Lavro Sea Dory. I picked the name Sound Runner because I liked its double-meaning — the boat was to run people around the Sound, and do it in a sound manner.  Continue reading

Amazing Whale Encounter

In my 24 years running a water taxi and nature tour boat in Prince William Sound, my favorite wildlife experiences were, without a doubt, with whales — especially humpbacks. We often saw orcas too, occasionally minkes, and rarely, grays and fin whales.  But humpbacks were the stars because they were the most dependable. Continue reading

Can PWS Be Loved To Death?

Below is the early working version of an invited “Stakeholder Essay” in a collection of studies that summarize the affects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Prince William Sound’s communities and resources.  Several years in the making, the collection was recently published as a 355-page hardcover book, Sustaining Wildlands: Integrating Science and Community in Prince William Sound, Aaron Poe and Randy Gimblett (Eds.).  2017, The University of Arizona Press

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Is it possible to love a place so much that what you do there imperils the very values that brought you there in the first place? What if there are so many like-minded people using the same place, that together you do just that, even if unawares?  These are questions I pondered for many years, as a working biologist, as a parent exploring the Sound by inflatable in the 1980s with my three young sons, and most recently, as a nature tour guide in Prince William Sound.

Continue reading