So when the last Chugach transients pass from this earth, their language will disappear with them. Eyak’s jawbone, the actual and the artistically rendered, thus speaks to us from out of its great silence. We might also think of it as listening for our response. It reminds us of the fragility of life on our planet – that of other beings who share it with us – and our own. We are not representatives of our kind, but individuals, with stories to live and tell and pass on.
What story will we leave behind of our human tenure on earth? Eyak’s bones are what poet W.S. Merwin called: “a single irreducible warning.” They are also a reminder of our responsibilities, our interdependence, our common fate.
Wow, this is a sad one.