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Juneau, Alaska – When the Sun Comes Out

Juneau, Alaska
When the Sun Comes Out

God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light! (Genesis 1:3)

We arrived at the docks in a pouring rain. Grey skies, low-lying clouds – it was a little depressing. Looking for some quick advice to take advantage of the little time we had, my family and I made a quick dash through the rain to the Visitor Information, Juneau. These are usually good and reliable places for local advice regarding restaurants, sites, entertainment, car rentals, etc. After standing in line and finally getting to the gentleman behind the counter, we bantered about for a while about how we should spend our time if given the limitations of a one day stay off of a cruise ship. As I was turning to leave, I ask:

“What is it like to live here in Juneau when it rains so much of the time?”

This question came as a result of prejudice, you see. Coming from North Carolina, blue sky is the preference. Rain, though necessary and life-giving, remains the exception, not the rule. In Juneau, though, at least from what I had read and from what we were experiencing having just run through a drenching wetness, rain, grey sky and clouds tended to be the norm.

“The first time I came here,” the man at the desk responded to me, “I was only passing through. My initial response was the same as you – but then the sun came out. And I decided to never leave.”

Light changes things.

It turns out, Juneau is located in the middle of The Tongass, National Forest, the northernmost rain forest in the world. It is also surrounded by 1000 square mile ice field – and spectacular beauty.

Beyond the grey was a lovely city, small enough to walk through it in a few hours, but large enough to offer a great deal of creative architecture. Wedged between mountains and the sea, this sophisticated town of Juneau sits isolated from the rest of civilization. Accessible only by air and water, no roads connect it to any other place in North America.

The houses and buildings of Juneau rise quickly from the waterfront restaurants and shops to homes perched on ridges and steep slopes looking out on the amazing views of a land covered in green forests of ferns, moss, and fir trees, rising to the sky from every angle.

There is something about light that, well, makes all things new somehow. It makes color possible. And when wedging through clouds in the grey of a Juneau morning, it transforms the grey of that lovely spot come to life in a vividly spectacular display that reminds us why life is so special.

God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light! (Genesis 1:3)

Juneau facts:

The capital of Alaska and founded in 1880, Juneau is a former gold mining town surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery one can imagine. Since Juneau is located in the panhandle of Alaska, the weather and ambiance differs considerably from the rest of this massive state. This quaint, yet sophisticated town is rich in native culture and is Alaska’s capital city with 30,000 residents. Juneau is tucked in the rainforest where the mountains meet the sea amid 17 million acres of Tongass national forest and 1,000 square mile ice field. The spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers, fjords, lakes, streams, forests, with lots of bear, eagles, whales and other wildlife is unmatched. Climate is mild, typically in the 60-75 in summer and around 30 in winter. Rainy season is October, though in this lush rainforest, a periodic drizzle during the day is always possible and as is occasional snow in mid-winter (Dec-Mar). MSNBC reported that Juneau, Alaska ranked #11 Best Places to Live in America based on quality of life including affluence, education, commuting time, easy access to recreation and other factors according to a study by the American City Business Journal. (From the Juneau Alaska and Tours web site).

 

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1).