I despair on the morning of our departure when we are cleared for takeoff. We are leaving Alaska and I have not seen Denali with my own eyes. Uncharacteristically, I am in a window seat, a consequence of the first class cabin arrangement. As I look out above the clouds, I am stunned. Now The Great One chooses to reveal itself: icy twin peaks rendered bright by the sun.
“You see me now,” it whispers.
We struggle upon our our return. Everything is different, off balance, needing more contrast. We are halfhearted in locating our bearings. We find it difficult to describe the pull of the land we have left. When asked, we are nearly mute: “Indescribable.” “Unbelievable.” “Awesome.” “Incredible.” The elemental presence we experienced courses through our veins, powerful, magnetic, unfettered, undeniable.
We have been Outside for six weeks. Alaska holds us. Our compass has been reset to our own True North – the Last Frontier.
We see it now.