Tufted Puffins, a Name Change and Best Wishes for 2013

Tufted puffin near Homer I_nUnmistakable with their toucan-like bright orange beaks and combed back white tufts of head feathers, tufted puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) are among Alaska’s most familiar ambassadors.

When we began this blog a little over two years ago, it was for ourselves. The blog was to be a place to catalogue our recipes and keep a photographic record of our travels and adventures. And so we named it Frozen Moments and didn’t think too much about it. It seemed an appropriate name for a blog where photographs are highlighted (frozen moments) and especially so since our home nine months of the year is in Arctic Alaska (frozen months).

Tufted puffin near Homer II_nBut as we got more into it, we discovered that Frozen Moments was a little too obvious. Others were already using the name. We realized we’d eventually want to make a change. CutterLight has its origins in two sources. Cutter derives from our summer home in Seward – our cutter-rigged sailboat. To us, the term evokes images not just of sailing, but of travel and adventure in general, as well as a spirit of being willing to learn and experience new things.

Tufted puffin near Homer III_nLight, too, holds multiple meanings for us. There is of course the “light” which all photographers are concerned with. As our skills and interest in photography grow, we are finding that we are becoming, inevitably perhaps, obsessed with light. It permeates our world now in ways it never did before, and this newfound awareness affects everything from the way we watch movies to how we perceive the world around us to how we deal with the deceptively elusive basic elements of photography.

Tufted puffin near Homer IV_nBut Light holds a second meaning – one which is perhaps even more central to our lives. As we move forward toward fulfilling our goals as writers, photographers and sailors, we have pared away much of what we once considered necessary. Not much fits on a 35-foot sailboat. A succession of yard sales and donations to thrift shops allowed us to part with most of our possessions before we moved to Alaska three years ago. Since then, every new item we add to our lives is carefully evaluated for the value it brings in terms of utility and pleasure. Few items make the cut. We are moving forward with a life that feels lighter yet stronger. It is a wonderful feeling.

Lower Cook Inlet near Homer_nLooking out over lower Cook Inlet from the bluffs above Homer, Alaska.

As we look back on 2012, it is with a deep sense of appreciation. Many new friends came into our lives this year, and we also were fortunate to have had some really special reconnections with people from our former lives. We are happy, too, that our blog is finding an appreciative audience. We wish one and all fair winds and following seas in the coming year.

Jack and Barbra Donachy

How Have Long Life: Life Philosophy from Alaska’s Longest Reindeer Herder

winter sky_n

The sun doesn’t rise now. In its absence, there is darkness and dusk. And there is beauty in the pink hues and  blue silhouettes of midday.

Words to live by from the longest reindeer herder, Chester Asakak Seveck.

For long live and joy life,

I believe these things –

Keep busy and do good work.

Have much good exercise.

Eat good food,

no waste anything

and every day enjoy what it gives

and do not spoil this day with much worry of tomorrow.

Be happy.

I know this way

how I be “Longest Reindeer Herder.”

Start 1908, finish 1954,

altogether 46 years herd reindeer.

From Longest Reindeer Herder: A true life story of an Alaskan Eskimo covering the period from 1890 to 1973, by Chester Asakak Seveck