All of us in the Zahasky family have spent a good part, if not all, our lives here in Juneau. And we are privileged (by Juneau standards) to be able to leave this small capital city during winter and spring months for band tours. Yet by the “down south” view, we are lucky to be able to come home to Juneau.

Tourists spend thousands of dollars each summer to travel here and take in the spectacular views and marvel at this land we call our home. Sam Talafiero and his good friend Gay, from Springtown Texas, came up on a cruise ship this last week and visited with us. We have stayed with him several times in our many tours through Texas and it happened to be Gay’s first time up to Alaska. She was so awed by Juneau, she exclaimed to us “If Heaven is prettier than Alaska, I can’t even imagine what it will be like!”

We agree with Gay, and she reminded us of something we often forget: how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. When you work and play and live out your days in such a place, you can easily lose sight of the grandeur of the mountains, and of the fleeting beauty of the glaciers. 


In two weeks the tourist season will end here in Juneau, and our downtown roads will seems very empty without all the hustle and bustle of the tourists. Even most of the out-of-town owned shops will close their doors, leaving a very quite downtown. So as our exciting summer season ends, we reflect on what the tourists teach us as long-time Juneau locals. 


The tourists come, the cruise ships go,

and then they leave before it snows.

While summer sun or rain beats down

they fill the sidewalks of downtown.


With rain ponchos on, and umbrellas held high,

they take pictures of mountains against a slate gray sky.

They marvel at the glacier, the whales in the sea,

they ask questions about everything from the bears to the trees.


They ask the altitude when arriving on the dock,

and most locals despise them, and will secretly mock.

But they see the beauty we often overlook,

for when was the last time a picture we took?



When was the last time we starred up in awe at the sea, the forest, the sky?

Or when was it last that you yelled out in surprise as an eagle swooped in and flew by?


For though we’re happy to see them go, we’re happy when they return.

For they teach us to look and appreciate this place, there’s a lot from them we can learn.