Living Soil

I’m not surprised Kansas found a grassy field in which to dig holes, halfway up the side of a hill, and then again on top. It’s what working the slopes of an active stratovolcano isn’t, but that’s exactly the point. This is what Kasatochi looked like in 2008, seconds before the eruption.

Undercurrents of the sea breeze carry the noise of the surf upslope, where it marries the conversation of the grass. Kelvin sets out traps to catch insects. Lydia and CC scoop living soil into sample bags. The island smells like an heirloom garden.

Lydia tries to return to Adak every year. The convergence of the jet service and the plans of the M/V Tiglax make four days in the remote Aleutians possible. Much of that is bouncing on the water, but here in the morning, before the jet arrives, the grass is a hammock. Through the grain, the white rocks of the beach below us are a catenary under pressure of the ocean. The Bering Sea fills the well between us and the horizon. There are moons worth of water north of us, and north of that, Russia.

—Thanks to the US Fish and Wildlife Service; the Zeglin lab at Kansas State University; UA Museum of the North Entomology Collection (2016)

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