That day we’d seen few other people—which made sense because there were no roads that led to this lake. We were buried deep into Alaska, an hour flight from Anchorage. In a place where porcupines wander up to front door steps and giggly girls in pajamas chase them in the late light night of summer.
Each morning we’d wake up at noon. Breakfasts became lunches, lunches became dinners. In between we ate rice crispy treats that Jenny’s mom made. We weren’t completely alone—Cody had stayed to protect us from the grizzly bears although I don’t doubt that Jenny or Lesa could have taken them down easily with one of the huge guns in their garage. But Cody made us feel safe and helped me catch at least a few fish one night, so we didn’t mind him interrupting our girl time.
In Alaska, time stops. You might say it’s the way the sun works in June, casting shadows at times I wasn’t used to and reflecting clearly off the lake in a way I’d never seen before in California. Time also stopped though because I was in a safe place with women I trusted deeply, wholly. They were the girls I’d woken up next to for several years, who’d listened to me in tears when I called home from cold, lonely France. Katie had proved to me that girls can burp—loudly– and she exhibited a faithfullness and frienship with Christ that was authentic and real. We’d spent so much time together that whenever one of us cut our hair, the other soon followed. And Jenny was our third musketeer. She’d taught me how to apply blush, and sing off key, how to wear your heart on you sleeve and take risks– like perming your hair in 2002. (Clearly, that was a tragic mistake.)
In Alaska, Katie and I were treated to things we’d never seen before. Moose grazing in people’s backyards. Salmon bigger than children. Shamu whales—in the wild! Bald eagles, and movie theatres where you eat dinner at your seat, lonely long roads through deserted land, hidden lakes and private coves only found over snowy mountains. For two weeks, we experienced our friend’s life, as she’d always known it. When we left, somehow I knew it’d never quite be the same. Oh, our friendship is still as beautiful as it was the night in the loft but we’ve never spent that much extended time together in the four years since it passed.
Do you ever wish time could return to you to be relived again? To snag bits and pieces of your past and sandwich them between the best parts of your life now? Today this is my wish. A silly, not practical, girlhood wish to be with my friends again in a place where time stops and the fish jump and the porcupines lead us on wild goose chases around a secret lake where we are all alone.