Community can be defined with infinite variables. The town one lives in, the circle of people one’s philosophies adhere too, the family and friends that make up ones web of contacts. Community can just be a sense of belonging and one can be part of many communities at once. Living in Dillingham, the hub of Bristol Bay Alaska, makes me think about my personal communities often. Especially this season when our town has said goodbye recently to so many teachers, healthcare workers, & others leaving for jobs elsewhere, different horizons and the seasonal influx of fishermen is upon us. Even if I don’t see everyone who I value often or even know you that well, just having positive, kind, and friendly people in this region’s web makes us all stronger and creates an atmosphere of health for our children.
I experience so much joy when my friends from the fishing fleet arrive in the Bay. A culture of sharing, storytelling, knowledge spreading sets in anew and I feel a sense of pride in my communities. We all contribute to the world around us and our actions send out ripples of feelings. So while I may not see your kindness directly or even hear of it maybe you inspired someone else to be kind or lifted someone up who was down, and those ripples will continue and together we make our communities webs strong. In small towns it is easy to identify positive contributors in our webs and when someone leaves, a gap opens, but the beautiful thing about living in a cyclical society is often someone new comes who fills that gap or contributes in a wholly new way that reinforces us all.
I suppose I could continue to muse more but really I just wanted to share that I have been thinking about this a lot lately, community, what we all can do to improve it, oh and shortbread… Spruce Tip Shortbread that is! Recently, a crew of folks came to Dillingham as part of a photography endeavor and I was lucky enough to show them the subsistence beach I fish on, share some fresh caught King salmon, and bake for them one of these…
I love the crumbly, buttery texture of a good shortbread, and with the bright fresh flavor of spruce tips you have a palette of possibilities. I like to top my shortbread with whatever jam I have in the pantry or make a fresh compote, such as a rhubarb or strawberry – both produce options that are in season currently. Making a compote is as easy as cooking down the fruit over medium heat, stirring often, with sugar to taste, until it thickens. Pictured is one of fresh rhubarb and raspberries from last summer’s harvest. Continue reading