I probably watch more TV than I would admit to. Primarily I watch my beloved Red Sox, and then shows on history, wildlife, survival, and a few DIY types now and again. Recently, as I have written here, 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.
My schedule keeps me quite busy and I don’t always find myself settled in front of the TV on Sunday nights. Thankfully I can record the show and watch it when my schedule allows. Honestly, I can sit down and feel myself relax when I hear the opening music to the show, and I wait to see what these characters will reveal this week.
I don’t know the behind-the-scenes or the inner workings of these shows and how much is scripted or influenced, but I do know that this show feels different from all the rest of them. It comes across like these Alaskans’ lives are carrying on as they would any other time, except someone hid cameras everywhere to capture their goings on. It also seems that these Alaskans welcome the company of the crew for conversation purposes, but not for any disruptions they may cause, whatsoever.
Ray Lewis captured the feeling in words, speaking about Thanksgiving, “Thanksgiving, that’s probably our favorite holiday. We’re thankful just every day. I mean, once you’re in the woods you’re relaxed and you’re just thankful to be, you know, be alive and be on your own.”
There is just something about this show that reels me in. I would love to live along side Heimo and Edna Korth just to better appreciate every simple aspect of life. The sheer joy of being alive is evident in their interactions. Then if I could roam the woods on foot or even navigate the waterways, I would accompany Ray Lewis. I know I would have to be silent, but I would be, and I would learn. I would enjoy it thoroughly. I don’t know if I’d traipse too far with Bob Harte only because it seems the majority of his luck is not good. Yet, he lives, he laughs, he loves, and he reflects. If I could be a neighbor of Bob’s and just be there to listen and help once in a while, I think the pleasure would be mine.
I don’t know Bob Harte, nor do I know anything about him, but I have observed him through this show. Bob’s way with words is different, sometimes choppy, or at least on delay. Though, rarely do you see someone who speaks words that are seemingly so closely attached to his core, to ever fiber of his being. I don’t know if he struggled with truth, character, or convictions earlier in life, but he now speaks like a man at peace with himself, for better or worse. Emotion runs deep, and it comes across to me that his words often times originate in those depths and run, unfiltered, to the surface for us all to hear.
Bob, talking about his winter, “…I feel like Job. Everything’s going wrong. Every which way you look. God’s testing me to see if I can do it. (I) still love Him. (I) still depend on Him. I mean I was down on the ground with the plane crash, and the; God took care of me. I’m here. I’m alive. I’m safe…”
Bob Harte is in plain sight, he’s on TV. He appears open and honest. He has his regrets, yet there he is, open and engaging. Maybe he hides from a past he’ll never forget. Maybe he hides no more. Maybe he’s just a long ways away from most of humanity, hiding, or not, in plain sight.
“The only troubles you have up here, is the ones you bring with you. And you gotta dwell with them. You wonder if you, uh, you’re in the right place doing the right thing.” ~ Bob Harte
(all photos pulled from online at AnimalPlanet.com, screen.yahoo.com, washingtonpost.com, The Last Alaskans Facebook Group)