Sunday, November 29, 2009
Well, it's officially winter. I tried to hold on to summer for as long as I could, but it slipped away. After seven years with scant sun, I was greedy: I wanted it to stick around longer. But it snowed and the snow has stayed.
I spent seven winters in Forida, seven years where I didn't see snow. In the mornings we headed out on the swamp buggy, bundled in our sweatshirts, but by noon it was a cloudless seventy degrees.
In Alaska the winters were fickle. Some years all we had was rain, drearily falling and freezing. Other winters the snow came down to the road. It wasn't something you could count on.
I think winter here is going to be more serious. Up in the mountains the lakes are frozen; snow has drifted over the trails. It's going to be a long time before I can get up there again. The nights are long and dark and full of stars.
People here assume that I am a backcountry skier; they look askance when I say I can't telemark. I am redeemed somewhat when I say I cross country ski. It's like living on the ocean but not knowing how to swim--inconceivable.
So six months of winter, real, true winter, not pretend winter this time. This is the kind where you can either stay in your house and hope it goes away or get out there. I'm not always a fan: I don't like keeping track of mittens and hats and carrying survival gear. I like sundresses and sandals and swimming in the lake. I don't like storing my tent away and shoveling and wondering if I can make it over the pass. But I've lived in the swamp, the desert, the rainforest. All of those were perfect in their own way. Now I live in a place with winter. I'll try it out and see if it sticks.