“Whack weeds and mow grass,” Ranger Preston says. “Don’t worry about cutting the wildflowers. They grow back in hoards, trust me.”

Mare in a rare mowing mode

Hmm…trust? Mare and Jack and I are three weeks into our four-month committment. Tempus fugit all over again. Although our racing minds are starting to slow down…trust? Of the 24 definitions of “trust” in Random House Dictionary, I cannot get past number 2.(Confident expectation of something, hope.) Too big of a leap, after 26 plus years in  a career fueled by criminal behavior. Mare and I still size up every stranger and expect the worst from them…They’re all out to steal or destroy either property or us!

Wait a minute…slow down and smell the wildflowers, beat some weeds, breathe…

Shooting star, wild sweet pea, iris and geranium, among nootka rose, chocolate lilies and buttercups

Example of a recovering peace officer:  Ranger Preston and Chilkoot Bob warned me about kids partying and burning pallets for bon-fires. “Big problem out at Chilkat.” Soon I see a few scooters (Not motorcycles) rolling past the cabin on the gravel road, followed by some 4X4 vehicles, and several more carloads of kids…It’s on, baby.
I pace in the cabin and tell myself, “I’m not a peace officer anymore. I have no authority. So I’ll wait and listen for things getting out of hand.” Nah, can’t wait…can’t resist. I take my bear spray (humongous can of pepper spray), throw my expandable baton under my jacket, and sneak down to peak at the party near the bay. Much to my surprise, and delight I might add, kids sit at a picnic table and snack. The folks from the 4-wheelers emerge from a hike in the woods. The music no longer blares.
I walk away and wonder how long it will take before I no longer expect bad behavior?
Another retired friend and coworker of mine wonders how we have ever managed to let the few folks we love into our hearts at all. Mare seems to slow down faster than I. Perhaps I struggle more due to my years as a defensive tactics trainer.  This serene environment filled with friendly folks is teaching us both a lesson. I may still be on “red alert” and size-up everybody within view, but who knows, recovery could come, if time does not fly by too fast.


Currently we have only one family camping in a tent by a sheltered bay. The 12-year-old loves seeing the seals and eagles. He has eagle feathers above both of his ears. ..I run into this  family in downtown Haines at the IGA grocery store. Then again at Dejon Delights. And yet again at Fireweed’s Restaurant, where today the special is fresh caught King Salmon.

Salmon at Fireweeds

The following day, Mare and I hike Battery Point trail and run into ten hikers along the way, two we know. Later, at the cabin our only guests turn out to be a woman we met at bear training with her parents from Mesa, Arizona…Did I mention that Haines is a small town?

Let’s get back to nature…wild strawberries bloom and we look forward to the treats. Other wild berries around here include: Watermelon Berries, Salmon Berries, Red raspberries, Thimbleberry, Blue, Black and Red Currents, Bog and Blue Berries. Some of the look-a-like berries prove poisonous, so perhaps we’ll stick to the strawberries until we can trust our identification skills.

People continue to wave while driving, and now I am waving back. A small step, but perhaps I am starting to trust the human race again.

An Eagle on the hunt