Journal entry by James K. Papp ~ from 30 October 2021

Today I fly on mighty wings to the first place I knew in this mysterious life, the Golden Heart of Alaska. Beating strongly in the center of the Great Land, the Golden Heart is where I birthed to behold trees and sun, snow and stars, to hear the raven call, and to witness the deep beckoning cobalt blue sky of Winter twilight. In this wide and open place, the power of spaciousness bestows blessings that blossom over a lifetime.

Honored by momentous mountains standing tall across a broad and endless valley braided by wild rivers, a start-up town in the middle of it all, born from gold in the bosom of the Earth, named itself the Golden Heart of Alaska. This was the town of Fairbanks in the early 1900s, which became the Golden Heart City.

In the countryside north of town, where the first hills roll out of the Tanana Valley, I lived my first eighteen years. Our family’s 25 acres is still still home to birch, aspen, spruce, and a farm ringed by my very favorite flower, the wild rose. Growing up there, I did not imagine the broad Alaskan Interior as a special place. Yet after moving “outside” to attend college, and then remaining in the “Lower 48,” each time I flew back home the profound vastness and austere beauty of the Great Land soaked more deeply into my being. And smack-dab in the center of it all is the not-necessarily spectacular yet divinely sublime Golden Heart.

It is to this home ground I return, gratefully, with open arms and a quieting mind. This place reminds me to remember the stillness and silence within me. This place reconnects me with the spaciousness in my soul. Thank you, Golden Heart.