Caravan Sonnet: Among the Alaskan Fireweed on Alaska 4-South: A Beautiful Symbol of Hope in the Hard Seasons of Life // Alaska

9/18/18

Among the Alaskan Fireweed on Alaska 4-South: A Beautiful Symbol of Hope in the Hard Seasons of Life // Alaska

Happy Tuesday y'all! I hope that your week is starting off well! *smiles* Today I am so excited to share more about our drive down to the Thompson Pass area in Alaska on Alaska 4- South! You may remember from my last post about the Richardson Highway what a beautiful area of Alaska this is! (If you missed the post you can read more HERE!) 

Today I am excited to share with y'all one of my absolute favorite stops that we did on the entire trip. I know, I know. *smiles* I have said that about a lot of different areas, but this was definitely one of them! This stop held great encouragement for me in a profound way. And beyond this, we were literally surrounded by the beautiful mountains in a 360 view and hiking among the Alaskan fireweed. It was stunning. 
We were about 40 miles away from Valdez when I started realizing that in every single direction I looked as I was driving the views were stunning. This happened many times throughout the trip, but I just had to pull over one more time because it was so gorgeous. 
It's honestly hard to pick just "one favorite" drive that we took on this road trip. Each area was so unique in our adventures that the beauty was astounding in different ways. This area was a gift to see though and I definitely recommend stopping and enjoying the views here! 
As I pulled off the road for this stop, I noticed that there were a couple of motorcycles and an RV that was parked there, with about five people standing around talking. Their licence plates were from Maryland and as we got out of the car I walked over and said "hello". In the course of the conversation I found out they were not only from Maryland, but were familiar with the area that I had taught at for a couple of years and the school that I had taught at (the same one that my book, December Caravan is partially dedicated to). 

It was fun to chat for a few minutes on the opposite side of the country and swap some stories! This was something that I really loved about Alaska... everyone that we met was so incredibly kind- whether they were tourists or natives. For the tourists that I interacted with throughout the trip... it was unlike any other place I have visited. There was a mutual sense of respect for everything that we were seeing in this area of the world and it was almost as if we kept talking about what we were seeing we could hold onto the wonder a bit longer.
As they drove off I just had to smile at sometimes how small the world is and how connected we really all are. 
I started to hike and explore this beautiful area that was so simply stunning. One of my favorite parts of this area was walking and skipping among the beautiful fireweed flowers that were simply abundant.
Fireweed is not the official Alaska state flower but in many ways as we drove along I started thinking that it should be. There was such beauty from the pink-purple tones against the vibrant greens and the dark, tall mountains. 
But as I researched more about this flower early on in the trip I realized that there was more than just the pretty colors behind this flower. There is a deep strength to the symbolism of these flowers that appear to be fragile.
As it turns out these beautiful flowers thrive in "disturbed areas", for example, where you will see them a lot if you take an Alaskan road trip, along the road where they would appear to be in danger. But beyond that, these flowers actually thrive the most in areas that have sustained trauma- so things like avalanches, forest fires, falling trees, etc. 
Throughout the entire Alaska trip I was so struck by this symbolism and the beauty and strength of this flower. And as I returned home and have been working on recapping this trip, there has been something very hard and personal that has taken place behind the scenes in my own life. Sometimes life is just hard... isn't it? This broken world can sometimes be very hard and very messy... and painful... and it can be easy to think that nothing beautiful could come from all of the "hard" that we are experiencing... especially if our hearts feel wounded. 
But the thing is... is that this flower has gently reminded me that beauty can come from situations and circumstances that feel like they are disintegrated and ashes. That there is always hope in every situation... even when it feels confusing or hurtful or painful. This flower reminds me that beauty does come from the most disturbed and difficult areas of our lives. 

So if you are going through a hard time right now friends... I hope that these pictures of this stunning flower that thrives in the most disturbed situations will encourage you as it has me.
Isn't this baby fireweed adorable? I actually snapped this picture right after my traveling companion had walked by and stepped on it without paying attention to the area. Look how it was completely fine. The symbolism of all of it is really incredible if you think about it. 
I found this verse while we were in Alaska and it really spoke to my heart. I hope that it encourages you today too... no matter what you are going through friends... hold on...beauty is coming from your situation. As one of my favorite authors so eloquently said... "of one thing I am perfectly sure: the story never ends in ashes". 

The verse I mentioned is from the book of Isaiah in the Bible and it says... "I will give them bouquets instead of ashes, a joyous blessing instead of tears of grief... festive praise instead of despair." Today... I am praying that this verse comes true for you in whatever situation you are facing that appears to be in ashes... may it be replaced by bouquets and blessings instead of grief and despair.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this post today! 

PS- If you are curious about the specific details of the road trip that we took throughout Alaska or if you are planning a similar road trip (or just want to see and dream about visiting the beauty!) I hope the information below is helpful. You can read all of the posts from the trip by clicking on the links below:

Anchorage: // Anchorage Travel Guide//

Chugach Mountains (Alaska 1-South Drive): // Scenic Seward Highway Drive (Turnagain Arm Drive)//

Chugach Mountains: // Eklutna Lake//

Cooper Landing (Kenai Peninsula): // Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge Nature Trail//



Girdwood: // Winner Creek Trail //

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