As I have mentioned before, I have come across a TV show that I just can’t get enough of. I have found, and thoroughly enjoy, The Last Alaskans. One review I read on this show used a word to describe this show, that I would also use, intoxicating. Completely intoxicating.
The show is now in its’ second season and I can still honestly say, I can sit down and feel myself relax when I hear the opening music to the show, Heimo Korth narrates the opening behind the pictures, and I wait to see what these characters will reveal this week. The blend of music, amazing scenes, the reverence of the participants to their way of life, the hard work seen, and unseen, the stories, their histories, it’s so real. There is no flash. There is real life. It’s so compelling.
This show continues to feel and to watch differently than any other show I have ever seen. Sons of Winter came close. It comes across like these Alaskans’ lives are carrying on as they would at any other time, in any other era. It also seems that these Alaskans welcome the company of the crew for conversation purposes, but not for any disruptions they may cause, whatsoever. Their way of life needs not the intruders, nor their technology. I am just so happy that I get to look through this window, into their day-to-day world.
This season, and really, from day one, I have been captivated by Bob Harte. I have written about him before, in my post called, In Plain Sight. The story tells us that Bob has been through a lot in his life. His words tell the story, and the way in which he delivers them, well that just speaks volumes. I imagine that when Bob poses rhetorical questions, or answers questions on camera, or even explains how now came to be, that he speaks from magnitudes of reflection. And, somewhere behind those experienced eyes, there is a personal movie running, that only he sees, and the wisdom gained from those visual occurrences factor into the words he chooses to speak. And in each blink of an eye, as Bob pauses on this word, or that, I wait in anticipation for the most believable answer to any question or scenario he chooses to address. I have never seen anything else like it, so real, so honest, ever on television. You just know, or at least sense, that every word he chooses to speak, has been fully endorsed by countless hours of living, learning, and reflection. Truly awesome to watch and to listen to.
I feel for Bob. I feel for his past, and now, the situation he finds himself in. I puff up with joy for him when his every fiber so obviously is thrilled to be back on the river, and back at camp. I try to relate to the regrets he shares, as I have my own, and I know how I speak internally on certain subjects, as I am sure Bob does too. I also appreciate his honesty, and all the mistakes and pain it took for him to arrive at peace with the things he cannot do over again. Oh, to be in those shoes, he has to have thought deeply for so many years, and let the sorrows and snares of his own contributions gush over and around him to emerge as he has.
Bob talked about his daughter and how stubborn she is, “… She doesn’t want to be considered helpless. She’s stubborn like that. She’s like her dad (laughing). Poor kid.”
“… It’s invaluable. Someone caring for you. Someone loving you. It’s invaluable. I wouldn’t be; I wouldn’t want to live without that.” ~ Bob Harte. Oh, did you see the joy in Nancy’s (Bob’s ex-wife) face and eyes as she watched Bob react to the food she brought out to camp for their dinner together? Their past might be complicated, but that scene was simple…pure love.
God only knows how much time Bob has left on this earth, but it certainly is evident that he is close to the end. In this frame of mind, the pain found in his words, or the emotion heard in his voice, and the sadness that collects in the tears on his face, he longs for the simple things we all crave. Companionship. Love. Affection. Bob speaks about the present, “… I’m happy. But I still would love to have someone close, to share moments with. To talk to. To hug. To kiss. I miss that.”
In this season’s episode “Alone”, Bob speaks, almost in tears, maybe even justifying the value of what he’s giving, talking about the gift he left with his daughter, Talicia. “… Ruger loved the hell out of her. And he protected her. I want the perfect dog for her to have. I want to leave her with that. That dog. You can’t do better than that. There’s no way you can do better than that. No way. That’s why it’s her dog now.” His sidekick, best friend, partner, Ruger, his dog, is the gift that Bob packed on the bush plane with his daughter as she left camp to return to town. It was an emotional scene, and it tugged at every heartstring to understand what he gave up in Ruger, for the benefit of his daughter. That is a father’s love. A father who likely has second guessed himself, from the peace and tranquility of the river camp, for years and years. He gave her the very best he could give.
Bob is honest, brutally so, it seems. Bob is living, simply living. But, Bob, in his camp, he is honestly living.
(all photos pulled from Discovery Channel, and are property of Discovery Channel)