Sunrise Over the Alaskan Mountain Range

I’m currently taking a break from unpacking our house to dabble in yesterday’s sunrise. This morning we are fogged in, so much so that I almost can’t see the neighboring houses through the bare trees below, and certainly not any natural mountains. (The only mountains I can see are of a different kind: dirty clothing.)

Sunrise over the Alaskan Mountain Range, 19 September 2014

A Gentle Sunrise Over the Alaskan Mountain Range, 19 September 2014

It’s amazing how after a few weeks in this house, I find myself constantly looking out of doors, seeking the mountains that I have missed so much. (Yes, Washington State has mountains, but they’re baby mountains.) Today, while Grandma has her grandson, my husband and I have kept busy by unpacking the rest of our boxes, doing laundry, reorganizing things we thought we had already organized, doing laundry, as well as putting out the remainder of our gigantic book collection, and (you guessed it!) doing more laundry. Yet in my occasional glance out the windows, the fog seems oppressive and depressing. Where are the mountains that have greeted me each morning? Where is the clear, blue sky? Where are the trees?

I know this isn’t Seattle, and the fog will lift. There is a reason that we get amazing Northern Lights up here: the cold temperatures mean no insulating clouds. But as days becomes shorter, every second of daylight seems precious to my eyes. Until December 21st the daylight lessens, and, up here in Alaska, it is a drastic difference between summer and winter, both in sunlight and temperatures.

Fairbanks has one of (if not the) greatest temperature variances in the world. Summers can reach 90˚F, while winters can–and do–dip below -60˚F. Where I grew up in North Pole, our house would often be about ten degrees colder than Fairbanks. One memorable day while I was in high school, I recall it bottoming out at about -70˚F. (And yes, I went to school that day.) But in my new house, one of the things I am looking forward to with great pleasure is being on top of the inversion zone. Here on the hill, already I am seeing a temperature difference of about ten degrees in the opposite direction. The morning temperatures have been about 47˚F at the house in recent mornings, but down on the highway a mile or so away, the temperature are just above freezing. Finally, to this cold-blooded Alaskan, it’s going to seem warm at my house!

So while the fog has me feeling trapped, I will continue to unpack this house and tackling a different kind of mountain. It’s been a long few weeks without a washer and dryer (more on that story later–and how much I owe my parents for that as well!), and the dirty clothes have certainly piled up to a level rivaling Denali.

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