I was getting adjusted to the idea that spring will be slow in Alaska. I left warm weather and new flowers to return home to find snow and ice, but I still enjoyed daytime sunshine and some gradual melting, so I kept a positive attitude. But as I sit writing now, it is SNOWING OUTSIDE! And it’s snowing seriously, too. I have to shut my eyes and turn up the music, maybe go take a warm bubble bath and think about how I was basking at the beach in Mexico just a month ago. I could go take a picture, but anyone can visualize the white stuff coming down from the sky when instead it should be almost summer.
LATER — Then two days later, it began to rain. Maybe I didn’t enjoy those sunny days enough, was annoyed with the frozen ground and icy lake and the idea that I had left springtime flowers to come home to winter, so I didn’t adequately appreciate the lovely daytimes. Now that it is dreary and liquid I know I must readjust my thinking and be more positive. Today I will spend with one of my favorite people, and I know she will make my day sunny, no matter what the weather.
I just read that last sentence, and realized that for many years I have said that it didn’t matter to me what the weather might be. I was so busy with projects or having to work, I barely paid attention to temperature or sunshine or clouds or precipitation. Maybe I just need to get busy here and stop feeling like I’m treading water. I think I badly miss life on the road, going new places and meeting new people, taking walks in beautiful new places with my dog, living the simple RV life. In fact that was what I loved best about cruising sailing too, going into a new harbor, experiencing a new place, meeting people and seeing the sights, smelling, tasting, touching, everything new. As beautiful as this place is, it’s very well known. I think it was Andrew Wyeth who said that he didn’t need to travel, he could find something fascinating in every little thing around his old place, little fascinating details to study. I should probably do that.
It’s been rather strange to be at home in Alaska again. I’ve been gone before, and I guess it’s always required a period of readjustment. Two of those times I actually returned to an empty house and had to unpack piles of boxes to move back in again. I don’t think it was easy, for sure it wasn’t. I went away sailing in my 40s, then lived in Port Townsend and was gone for a total of five years; in my 50s I worked in Barrow but had housemates and everything was still as usual when I retired and came back a couple of years later; in my 60s I was gone nearly three years in the Peace Corps in Romania, and moved back in to a house damaged by the tenants. Those were the longest times I went away, but I never have settled back into my house while leaving an alternate “home” someplace else. Instead of being completely present I feel torn, as if part of me is far away. It’s only been a few days but the feeling persists and I feel more displaced than ever.
The great joy is that everything seems fine, the freezers are running, the furnace works great, my personal treasures are all in place and I still enjoy them. But spring has vanished and it’s 20 degrees with deep snow on the ground, ice on the lake, even the rhubarb hasn’t been brave enough to poke up through the frozen ground yet. For the first time I’m feeling bored here. My projects are close by — the sewing room, my carving workshop, books and magazines to read, friends to visit — but I don’t feel like doing any of them. I want to put on my shorts like I have every morning for the past two and a half months and go for a walk with my dog.
It was lovely that my RVing friend Shar came over from Seward on Monday and spent the night with her rowdy little puppy Sitka, she created a sort of bridge between my traveling life and this one. The sun was shining and it was warm enough outside for us to sit on the deck let our dogs go while we could talk.