Friday, January 26, 2018

What A Beautiful Morning

I'm hesitant to write posts like this.  I worry people will do to Alaska what they did to Washington and Oregon - move there.  But after our last trip Outside, I realize that the stories people have in their minds about permanent ice, polar and grizzly bears walking through town, and all the hardships of living in a cold wilderness have such a strong grip on people's mental pictures of Alaska, that I don't have to worry.  People's response is a sympathetic smile, a subtle rolling of eyes, and a condescending, "I'm so glad you like it there."

We got home Wednesday night to a nicely cleared driveway.  My car started up right away in the 7˚F (-14˚C) cold.  But after 10 days in mostly rainy Seattle with temps generally  in the 40s(F), it just didn't seem terribly cold in Anchorage.  It's drier for one thing, and not windy.  It snowed that night and I got up and cleared the inch or so out of the driveway before J pressed it down with her tires when she left.  (We have a south facing, sloping driveway.  If I don't keep it as clear as possible, it gets packed down.  Then when it warms up, it thaws and runs down the driveway only to freeze up into an icy sheet when it cools back below freezing.  So I try to keep it as close to the asphalt as I can.  And our house sitter did a great job while we were gone.)

It had snowed again yesterday evening,  So I got up, showered, did my leg stretches and lifted my barbell a few times, then bundled up and went out.

It was so beautiful.  It's about 4˚F (-16˚F) now.  But just my face feels any cold and it feels invigorating.  There are stars out even as the sky is starting to get light over the mountains.  There's not much snow and I just sweep it, but being out there and moving my muscles reminds me why I live here.

The picture gives a hint of the velvet dark blue sky.  But I can't reproduce how bracing the cold feels. I think about long ago when J and I drove through Mexico and Guatemala one summer.  We had to keep getting blocks of ice for the ice box in the VW camper.  The temperatures were in the 80s and 90s F and the humidity was the same.  We'd find the ice factory in a town and it was a pleasure to walk into the 10˚F ice room in our shorts and T shirts.  Though not for too long.  The cold reminds me that I'm still very much alive.

And I can't share with you the freshness and sparkle of the air as it massages my face and fills my lungs.

I wouldn't want it always to be cold with short days, but part of the year is just fine. It's over a month since the solstice in December, the shortest day, and less than two months until the equinox, when every part of the globe has the same amount of daylight.   And with grandchildren beckoning from the south, it's true we spend much of this season Outside.  But it's still a magical time.


  1. Beautifully written, but, you got them bears and not just the ordinary sized ones. You got them bears as big as the side of a dairy barn and bigger. With appetites for human flesh to match and not too alert mathematically. One in a thousand may eat a person, but they don't come in numerical order. Did I mention they be big? :)

    1. But Mike, you've got a lot more of those grizzly sized dairy barns than we have bears.


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