Yesterday I went for a walk down by the river with some classmates. We ended up being gone for almost three hours. For most of it we were just sitting on rocks close to the water, just watching boats pass by. Other than the occasional boat, there wasn’t much sound. It’s not what I’m used to. I’m used to the sounds of the city. It was a nice change. At a point, I just stood there on a rock looking out across the water. The sun was shining and the water was calm. All of a sudden this feeling came over me that I don’t know how to describe. Almost like I was at peace. It was like there was nothing holding me back or weighing me down. It was unreal.
It is astonishing that a place that has so much beauty can be in poverty. However, the people here don’t see themselves as poor. They see the beauty of this land and each other as a gift, a gift that not a lot of people have. This is a great mentality to have. Wealth isn’t in the material things, its in the relationships you have and the natural beauty of the world. I want to start seeing the world the way Yup’iks see it. They accept everyone for who they are. They see the land, animals, food, and each other as gifts, and one must cherish these gifts. They love one another as they love themselves. People don’t need anything else to be happy, but society is so materialistic. The real wealth is in your surroundings. Money doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. All we need is to treasure the moments we have with the people who love us. Once we do that maybe we can all have that feeling of peace that I was able to find down by the river.