I don't normally post photos of myself with my boy, but today this photo from an adventure in the Alaskan wilderness a few weeks ago popped up on my screen and I thought I would share it. The scenic backdrop of this particular location (somewhere up the Takotna River) looks strangely similar to the first jacket cover of The Raven's Gift from Penguin Canada with the black spruce, taiga, tundra, and mountains in the background.
The strange jacket I've got on is a bug suit, as the mosquitoes and no-see-ums were vicious, but they could have been worse, as we were actually able to uncover and snap a quick photo in the tundra cotton. The bugs in Alaska can be so thick at times that they will literally drive you mad. The little blood suckers fly into your eyes and nose and ears, and the hum can be unnerving, as if the very air around you has transformed into some sort of monster trying to devour any exposed flesh. I have seen caribou who have been driven crazy by the bugs. They run themselves to near death. Not a pleasant sight, and I've been there a few times myself. Had I the energy or the ability to run crazy across the tundra I would have. We humans don't have that option. All we can do is cover up and hope for a strong wind. You could bathe in 100% DEET until your nervous system failed, and the bugs would still feed on your carcass. Alaska bugs are no joke, hence the reason I was holding Atticus so tight, they little bastards would have carried him away.