Looking for Nimbus (in Juneau)

When we lived in Juneau, I managed KTOO radio. KTOO was on the same street as, and a block from, the State Capital.  Across from the Capital was the Dimond Courthouse.   It had a modern sculpture in its courtyard, light blue named “Nimbus.”  People hated it.  They said it looked like a 19-foot Gumby colored Kleenex being pulled from a box.  I loved it.  It was designed by Canadian who lives in Pennsylvania, Robert Murray, in 1977.  He said it was inspired by fjords and mountains but “in no sort of literal sense.” You interpret it the way you want.  Juneau interpreted it as a Kleenex.  It became a community message board, people posting stuff on its side, or sometimes tagging it with graffiti.  The graffiti was covered with Rustoleum, no respect.  One day some state workers cut it up and hauled it to a state lot somewhere.  

It was replaced by a statue of a grizzly bear eating a fish with enough room left over for William Seward, who is now the subject of a petition to remove him.  Some Alaska Natives say they had no say in the Alaska sale and want him gone.  Others say he was an ardent abolitionist and deserves to stay.  History repeats.  No one objects to the bear and the fish.

I mention Nimbus because it now is back on public display sitting in front of the new State Museum, the first stop on our Alaska Dream Cruise tour of Juneau.  Seeing Nimbus made me happy. I was happy when Bill Legere, the KTOO manager, said it was being erected outside his window (KTOO has moved too.) He knew I liked the sculpture.

After an hour at the museum, we took the bus to the Mendenhall Glacier.  It has lost some weight, slimmed down.  When I first saw it, the waterfall ran into the glacier, now the glacier is far away.  Suzi and I loved how the scoured rocks showed recent retreat then and now.  The Mendenhall River is where we saw our first sockeye (red salmon) run.  They were running again although it was later in the season  and there were fewer of them.

From there to the Auke Bay Allen facility where we watched the MV Matanuska, the first ferry we rode in 1973 and the one we moved up on in 1980, pull into port next to one of the new Alaska Class Ferries tied up but never run because we have an incompetent governor.

We took off for Orca Point Lodge, for salmon and crab (I told them, I’m allergic” and they had Prime Rib) chocolate fondue and a satisfying sunset.  The next day we were scheduled to visit Pelican, a fishing village I had never been to.  The weather had other plans.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.