The House that Gruening Built

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The House that Gruening Built

Category : Alaska

I imagine Ernest holding a pen, while Dorothy sketches the view,
of mountains and sea through bay windows, the same glass that now I gaze through. THE HOUSE THAT GRUENING BUILT

BY ROBERT WINFREE

The plaque on the wall had told us, that a statesman built this fine place. In mind’s eye I’m seeing his face. On the mantle lay books about Gruening. Our story is now laid before you, and the artworks hang on a wall,
We give thanks to our hosts in Alaska, who preserve parks to benefit of all. State Park staff friendly and gracious, we now fondly recall,
for they brought us fuel for our fire, drinking water, and all. Here the Governor drafted papers, powerful words of mystery,
for they made Alaska into a state, and for us – that’s now history. Our chariot brought us home again safely, though damaged and a broken window,
From an accidental meeting in Skagway, and a tumbling rock near Juneau. We’d threaded byways through Alaska – and then through Canada twice,
Reading poems by Service on mountains, and past rivers of glacier ice. Sketching on canvas in charcoal, and splashing colors acrylic and oil,
I paint to preserve the sunsets that darkness of night will spoil. Animals in abundance, everywhere we could see,
There were eagles alighting on branches, and a bear playing behind the next tree. Three weeks we spent in that cabin,
another coming, and one back home again. Tall conifers above well-groomed paths, where red squirrels gathered their cones,
seals frolicking in waves below us, where seabirds picked among stones. The Gruening’s cabin is now used by artists, and with its lands become a State Park,
where artists can stay in the evening, while outdoors it’s cold, wet, and dark.