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A Map of the Heart

Articles: A Map of the Heart

A distant view of Homer Spit extending into Kachemak Bay. Photo: Ilana Panich-Linsman
A bitter wind had blown somewhere else that morning, and sun bounced off remnant glaciers hanging in the valleys across Kachemak Bay. We could see water, green forest, the white backbones of mountains, sharp cliffs, glittering ice, bright snow, autumn’s butterscotch spread across rolling hills, pristine clouds, and a robin’s-egg-blue sky from the ridge above Homer, Alaska, where we were staying. This was on the Kenai Peninsula, where the bay flows into Cook Inlet, which itself reaches 150 miles to Anchorage.
An embrace, I might have thought, of nature.

It was late September; the harvest moon, twenty-four hours shy of fullness, had just set over the northern horizon. The day before had been rainy, foggy, windy, and cold, and my daughter and I despaired of swinging out on the water to get a closer look at those glaciers. Dixon, Portlock, Grewingk, Wosnesenksi, Doroshin, named by the explorer W. H. Dall in the late nineteenth century.

We hurried down to the Homer Spit—a needle of land extending into Kachemak Bay about fou...

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