Saturday, November 12, 2016

Finding Balance in Alaska's Changing Seasons

Alaska is a place of extremes. The never-ending sunlight in the warmth of summer. The all-encompassing darkness as winter settles around you. The larger than life mountains with their snow-capped peaks. The huge predators that leave you speechless when you come up on one accidentally. It is a place that makes you thankful for a warm house, or blackout curtains, or the ability to carry a firearm as you hike through the tundra.

The changing of seasons is strongly evident here, especially as we've transitioned into November. Snow fell in mid-October, ushering in the end of autumn. While the snow didn't stick around for long, it was obvious that winter had settled on the Alaska Peninsula. Thick frost greets us each morning.  Layers of the frost cover everything, and the sun no longer rises high enough in the sky to clear the ice from our porch.

As we make the inevitable transition into winter, which happens to be one of my favorite seasons, I'm finding myself doing more and more nesting because our lives are becoming more tied to the house. Bread is constantly baking in our oven and hot tea is always on reserve in the evenings. Cody and I are both devouring more books and movies than ever. He's playing his drum kit and renewing his love of art, while I bake and teach myself to knit.

That is not to say that we are staying inside the house constantly.  In fact, quite the contrary. I find myself racing out of school at the end of the day and heading out with a renewed vigor. I think knowing that after 5pm it's simply too dark to walk alone creates an invisible stopwatch over my head, forcing me out into the quickly fading afternoon sunlight.

It's actually been quite a wonderful routine that we've settled into. In the darkness, we are cuddled up inside the house with a good book. In the light we are outside enjoying ourselves as much as possible. We've found ourselves taking the guns out for target practice, stalking around the tundra in search of geese, and breaking new trails around our house that lead down to Loon Lake.

It's all about maintaining that balance out here in the bush, and self-care is incredibly important in Alaska's extreme climate. For me, the fine balance between exploration and relaxation is the key to my happiness, especially as we transition into the darkest and coldest part of our year.

Your turn...What activities have you been doing to prepare for winter? 
Currently listening to...Everlasting Light - The Black Keys