I have learned most everything from my pals (or from the Internet). Every triumph and tragedy in my life I have shared with pals. I have had a grand tour of this place so far sharing it with pals. Pals have inspired me to do all kinds of things, from the ordinary, expected things, to the occasional, unexpected, extraordinary thing. I herein thank you, pals, for being there as I have been all over the place, lived and worked in the US, Alaska (it’s not really the US) and overseas, written you letters, emails, played pranks, sent gifts of time, sound, and motion picture, spent time and resources making sure you were a part of my favorite moments, lived an interesting life, owned stuff (as if it really matters): a house, condo, cars, had interesting jobs, worked for others, worked for myself, mostly to be able to share more time with pals, taken most challenges with a smile, known things that others did not and still let them discover on their own terms, raised pups into great companions, made mistakes in the raising, found lessons in the mistakes, been gifted with the powers of observation, sat on floors with children and dogs, committed time to community, played with the cats even though extremely allergic, listened to the music and conversation at the same time, believed when everyone doubted, have found comfort in present company even while stupid and wet (usually due to poor planning or capsized boats – or both), traveled extensively to the point of wanting to be planted somewhere, rocked back and forth to a mysterious rhythm only I can hear, eaten muktuk in the company of Native Elders, loved and lost, known the agony of defeat and the sweet sweet taste of victory, seen and listened to most every band play live I have ever wanted to see/hear, hiked, biked, trekked, sailed, sported, risked, sampled most everything offered graciously to me, gotten away with exquisite mischief, gifted absurd amounts of money to the less fortunate, given when I had little, accepted the grace of others, passed uplifting words to complete strangers, suffered every fool with a smile, argued with the best of them, feared the worst of them, harkened to the brightest of them, been taken in by the most well-meaning of them, spoken my feelings, hardened my heart against the most untrustworthy of them, gone against my instincts even when I knew better, tasted the fear of mobs, drawn self-portraits during times of duress, drawn self-portraits during times of prosperity, admitted I was wrong, didn’t gloat when I was right, was with Mom when she passed through this world, watched in awe as Dad survived cancer not once but twice, written secret letters to myself (some got mailed but most did not), kept a sleep journal for seven years, kept a food journal for 10 months, gained and lost mass amounts of weight, won awards of various kinds, some I cared about and some not, been respected, disrespected, shown dedication, made most decisions quickly, made a few decisions after much deliberation and negotiation, made the most of situations that did not suit me well, talked when I should have been listening, listened when I should have spoken up, added value where I saw a need, advocated for change where it added value to the collective, been listened to, ignored, loved, nurtured, misunderstood, found hope in the face of adversity, been abandoned and left for dead, redeemed, made things harder for myself, doubted my own mettle, rediscovered myself, been a friend to those who deserved it and those who did not, given second chances to those who deserved it and some who did not, said goodbye to those who only knew how to take, had empathy in the face of anger, gotten sick and fed up and said so, let go of those who cannot forgive, forgiven even when no one else understood, held onto those who would one day slip away, tried to lead when should have followed, followed when should have led, followed and led at just the right time, have escaped narrowly, cried quietly in the rain, sung loudly in the snow, slept heavily under the Moon and lightly under the Sun, have stayed awake longer than humanly possible, swam longer and farther out than most, have overcome and given in to self-doubt, have never lied just to be right, have always admitted it when I was wrong, begged to be understood, said goodbye to too many too soon, watched some falter even as I tried, screamed to try and be heard, whispered to break through, waited to make peace, hurried to try and slow down, asked for forgiveness and been both granted and denied, learned from my mistakes and even still sometimes made them again, have thrived in times of scarcity, suffered in times of abundance, been betrayed, been honest in spite of it, been courageous and calm while others panicked in fear, doubted myself when I could have been sure, been sure when it was anybody’s call, risked affection, believed enough to be vulnerable again and again, discovered kindness in the most unlikely places, felt despair beyond what is bearable, challenged out of respect and care, pushed myself while having love and wind at my back, been too firm and also wishy washy, been a hammer, been a nail, been taken for granted, taken others for granted, too, seen pals accomplish their dreams with my own two eyes, fell willingly into love, heard heavy truths without being prepared, heard untruths right from the source, kept secrets lest they dissipate in conversation, resisted with all my heart, loved with all my might, believe the unseen has properties, seen hidden messages received and missed, anticipated success, built, rebuilt, and salvaged my spirit after it was crushed again, been confused about where to go, when to hide, who to dog, and who to hold forever by my side. In truth, there would be so much less of a story without you, my pals. Thank you for being my pal. Every single one of you. I love you.