September 29th, 2009

Just because

Let's see, what to blog about when you really don't have anything to blog
about? Something mundane... I know, the weather!

Now, poor Alaska, it has always gotten a bad rap when it comes to the
weather. So first off, let's dispel some common misconceptions. No, we do
not have 12 months of winter. No, it is not dark all the time in the winter.
And no, we do not live in igloos (though that would be kind of cool... for
about an hour, then I want my heat and hot cocoa back!)

This year winter went away around March or April, give us a grudging early
spring, which blossomed in a cool late spring by May, with hot days
intermixed with the cool ones. By June we found summer upon us, with warm
breezes and lots of time spent outdoors. But spring wasn't ready to let go
and we had a chilly week mid-June, which, ironically enough, was when we had
visitors from the lower 48. Here they had heard us talking of warmth and
sunshine, and the one week they're here is when we had to break out the
hoodies and light jackets. It didn't help that was also the week we had
rain, rain, rain. And of course, mere days after they returned home, the sun
returned and then some, giving us the most beautiful summer I've seen since
being in Alaska (so, the nicest out of 3 summers).

August, which is normally our rainy season, proved to be the exact opposite.
Instead, more sunshine poured forth and there were long lazy days spent
outside, enjoying this extended summer, this blessing above blessings.

And now September is drawing to a close, the end of one of the most
contradictory months I've experienced in a long time. First, we had so much
rain that we wondered if August had really been July and September was
really August. That would explain the switch in weather. But as quickly as
the rain appeared, it vanished, leaving behind hot July days and cool June
nights, only to have August rain again the next day. Now, the warm Autumn
has morphed into chilly Autumn as the leaves fall more quickly and we see
snow upon the tops of the mountains. Yet even as it rains in the morning and
we find hoarfrost on the grounds as we pick up our newspapers, by afternoon
the clouds part and the sun peaks out, warming our bodies and hearts with
the last fringes of Summer's blessing on Autumn's splendor.

If you look at the weather report, the forecast is dreary, rain, cold, and
snow. And while we've had the rain and cold some days, the snow has yet to
make an appearance as the sun holds it at bay a little while longer. For
some, winter is a beast, lurking around the corner, intent upon stealing the
warmth from our very bones, and filling our minds and hearts with a dark,
cold despondency.

Instead, for me, Winter is a friend, the chilly companion who comes bearing
gifts: holidays and time spent with those we loved, snuggly sweaters and
warm fires, hot chocolate, apple cider, and turkey with dressing, music
that's so special it's only song during the season of lights and laughter.
Winter brings snowball fights and gifts hidden on the closet shelf, a sun
that shines warm on your face even as the wind nips your nose. A time when
instead of going out and about, we stay home, and play games and talk in
front of the fire. When Winter comes, togetherness takes on a new meaning
and suddenly the "to do" list doesn't seem that important. My friend Winter
might come earlier than I like, but I'm always glad to see him come. And
while he might stay longer than expected, he will never outstay his welcome.

But leave he must, and I know, even as I unpack my winter coats, scarves,
hats, and gloves, that even though it feels as though Winter is quickly
approaching, it will be gone before I know it, leaving behind puddles of
melted snow that are just waiting for our next guest, Summer. Yet even as we
allow Summer to entertain us with her antics, at times I find myself behind
a locked door, listening to the soft strains of, "Sleigh bells ring, are you
listening?" And during those moments, I smile, knowing the Winter will soon

There.. that wasn't too mundane, was it?