Tutus in Talkeetna

Tutus in Talkeetna

Tonight I find myself in Talkeetna, Alaska, a town of wood framed houses. The mountaineers who climb Denali use this village as their last outpost before heading to base camp on the tallest mountain in North America. Hype is a daily commodity, Denali looms large and tall, there is no need for bluster in Talkeetna. The mountain is so remote that tourists only get a view of it from miles in the distance. At arms length it stands only one inch off the horizon.

It is late, I look out the window of the Wildflower Bed and Breakfast perched above the main street and I observe a bit of raucous behavior. A couple of young women prance and cantor along the main street of Talkeetna. This theatric spectacle is usually reserved for the shadowy darkness of midnight. But this evening is the summer solstice in Alaska and the sun never sets; there is no such thing as darkness.

The two pretty young ladies match step and prance down the street. They are in cowgirl boots and matching pink and yellow tutus. They are headed for the local roadhouse down at the end of the block, bedecked in sequins and all things frilly. It is late and I am tired so I can’t motivate myself to photograph them, but if you go to Talkeetna you should seek them out. They manifest the “devil may care attitude that comes with living in these parts. I hear the historic music of Robert and Tommy Johnson emanating from the roadhouse.

The gals continue to saunter and prance down the street at 11:15 p.m. not a hit of darkness overcomes them. They have endured months of darkness. The daylight doesn’t stifle their parade, they have limited inhibitions. They gallop & saunter on, the night is as young as they are. There is no such thing as “sunset” this time of year.

I have had the fortune to struggle with language barriers and cultural barriers but the solar barrier is unending this time of year. Earlier, I had placed a call to the bed and breakfast to let them know that I would be arriving late. When I mentioned “We’ll be there by dark”….she replied, “You mean October?”   Alaska is many things to many people.  The solar phenomena sheds an ever present light on everything Alaskan.

Bill Keitel

Tutus in Talkeetna (Part 1)
Commerce in the Yukon (Part 2)
Alaska the Columbian Exchange (Part 3)

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