Dark are the days, and bright are the nights. It is just after 9:00am, and the moment has arrived when the sky is more light than dark. The darkness is long and looming, yet this makes the lightness of day ever more precious and the desire to get outside and into this transient realm even greater.
Of late, I have transitioned into Southeast Alaska winter hibernation mode. It is dark when I drive to work in the morning and dark as I venture home over snow-packed roads. Yet even in the deepest of darkness, there is light. The moon shone brightly over the winter solstice, the sky was uncommonly clear, and a frozen sky and landscape filled the night with twinkling reflections of this winter wonderland of snow and hoar frost from every direction.
It has been some time since I have found the concentration to sit and write of my ongoing experience in Alaska, the “Great green north” as my husband describes it. Great green for Southeast, great white for the north. It is not for lack of desire that I have taken a respite from writing but more from sadness and grief over a recent loss of a loved one. I left my husband just under two months ago, and in the time that has passed I have experienced what a friend describes as contractions of grief. As if my body were in labor, waves of sadness course through me when I least expect it. I have felt freedom, loss, grief, and an entire spectrum of emotions with each passing day, not to mention the stress from moving my belongings, critters, and life from Washington to Alaska, not to mention schoolwork from my second year as a PhD student.
Gustavus seems to fit the mold for lost souls in search of reinventing themselves, seeking a chance to find out what they are capable of as individuals and members of a greater community. What serendipity to have found such a welcoming, peaceful community. I continue to question the realness of my life here – my cozy home, the smell of a fire burning in the wood stove, the beauty of the frozen winterscape around me, music and home cooked meals with friends and neighbors in the community of Gustavus. I have felt a fair amount of guilt over the warmth and beauty of life here, knowing my husband has taken on a life of uncertainty and nomadic wandering in my absence.
Of one thing I am certain. We pass through this world but once, and each moment is precious. If not now, then when will I choose to find my own path toward happiness in this life?