I grew up in Alaska. This was very influential forming my interests in hands and holistic healing. The winters were dark and cold with the choice of play either outside ice-skating on our homemade backyard ice-rink complete with music and a flood light (and chores to shovel it off and flood a new layer of ice) or driving our snowmobile. I had a choice to cross-country ski to school or sit in the cold waiting for a bus, and I chose more often to ski.
The winters consisted of long dark days which I used to wax my skis with an iron, or to play piano or my guitar. Hockey was a big past-time as my father coached a team and brother played. I was a competitive figure-skater and was on the ice at the rink at 5 a.m. for practice. Time was passed by baking, creating crafts with dough, sewing and knitting. Macramé was very much “a thing” that helped me to learn how to tie knots for custom splints in our Hand Clinic and suspension sensory processing equipment in our Pediatric Center, as well as participate in sailing with my grownup friends today. We felled trees, chopped wood, and split kindling for our freestanding wood stove as a source of heat.
The land of the midnight sun consisted of much daylight during the summer. Opportunity afforded gathering such as berry picking indigenous species of blueberries and cranberries (while wearing bear bells that would chime with each step to alert our presence) and gardening, cultivating large and luscious produce that thrived in the long bright days. We were outdoors most of the time either climbing trees, fishing, canoeing and portaging canoes along the Kenai peninsula sharing the water brimming with wildlife, watching salmon spawn, hiking, camping and playing in the woods full of moose droppings, climbing trees and pressing flowers. We ate what we grew, what the neighbor hunted, and the fish we caught and cleaned…. and lots of chili.
I share this story as I realize that my own hands have created very fond and memorable opportunities for me that have lent to my richness of experience and gifts to share. The haptic hands-on experience is invaluable in learning and experiencing the word around us, developing and evolving as human beings. It is my desire to inspire others by hands-on increased function in order to live their life to their fullest. Occupational Therapy is an amazing profession that suits me. At this juncture it brings me incredible gratification creating opportunity, hope and action through healing and re/habilitation that lies within my province.