Hi! I’m Lucus Keppel, the latest of the KNOM volunteers to arrive in Nome – nearly a month and a half after Josh started the ball rolling on this year’s crop of volunteers. I’m really excited to be here! As a seminary graduate with a background in radio broadcasting, this position is an ideal way to merge the halves of me and get experience working with people from differing faith perspectives and cultures. It’s so exciting to be back in the radio world, and even more so to be surrounded by such positive people – a great environment for being the new Inspiration director.
That said… I’m having a major problem since coming to Nome: I’ve lost my sense of direction.
You see, in the Lower 48 (whether in the state of Kentucky, where I went to Seminary, or in my home state of Michigan), I’d gotten used to the sun being in the east or west depending on the time of day. I wasn’t fully conscious of it – it just… was always so.
Here in Nome – the sun is always in the south. It still MOVES from the east to the west, but it hugs the southern sky, meaning that to head toward the sun is to head toward the sea. Oh yes – the sea seems to have followed the sun’s lead here – instead of being in the east or west, it too is in the south. These simple directional quirks have led to my getting turned about.
But that’s ok too – it’s in the art of getting lost that we truly get to know a place.
Nome is small enough to walk from one side to the other in less than an hour. In all my getting lost, I’ve walked the streets enough to get my relative bearings, and have enjoyed the small-town greetings – waving at people driving by, not because I know them, but because they are people sharing the experience of living here, people who I may get to know as the year continues. Even if I don’t ever see them again, the simple wave and smile may do much to brighten their day, and thus is worth it.
In a land where the sea and the sun conspire to be ever in the south, it’s nice to know that people are aware of each other. That people care for each other. That simple acts can lead to big smiles and even, if I’m lucky, directions to wherever it is that I’m going.
So, wherever you are, if you see a dazed-looking stranger wandering around, whether wearing KNOM garb or not, please say hello! Our shared home might just get a little more connected, and we’ll be one step closer to finding our way, together.