A month after returning from the Kuskokwim, we boarded another Boeing 737, converted for carrying goods until only four rows of seats were left. A Nome businessman wore a sealskin coat with a polar-bear collar. Hurtling through the clouds on Bering Standard Time, I listened to the thin metal wall rattle between us and eternity, reminding me of my creaky berths on the old Cunard Queens, crossing a stormy North Atlantic two decades before, when nature also slapped against human certainties.
“Welcome to Nome. Facilities are quite limited,” our pilot announced ironically.