Tag Archives: Winter


Okay, the first snow is unbearably pretty.


For most people.

But I face the first snow with resignation mingled with a touch of despair.

A part of me cannot fathom the heavy white flakes, the realization that here, in Alaska, snow doesn’t come and stay for a day or two. Snow doesn’t fall and melt. Snow falls and stays.

Somedays I have to work harder than others to be content. This is an especially difficult time of year for me. When the leaves start to turn, I inevitably start to grow a bit depressed. Not in a clinical, I need meds sort of way, but in a sad way. I don’t want the oh-so-short Alaskan summer to end. I am never, ever, ready for it to end.

But it takes “constant vigilance” for me throughout the summer to remember that even though this summer will end before I’m ready, it will return.

There are few things in this life that we can be certain of, but we may be certain of the seasons. Winter comes, but it also leaves. Spring arrives, bringing new life and fresh, cool breath, summer follows closely on its heels around here. When fall comes, I know that there are a few oh-so-short weeks of summer left.

Even writing this post, I grow not nostalgic, but pained. I honestly feel a pain in my chest, a tightening as I realize how close is winter’s arrival. Fall is hanging on by mere threads, grasping fingers at the sky, begging the sun for just a few more clear days, a few days where the inhabitants can soak up vitamin D and pretend that winter isn’t approaching with relentless vengeance.

We can be certain of the seasons of this earth. Even if global warming continues, there will be winter, there will be spring, summer, and fall. And it’s true of life as well. “Now is the winter of our discontent.” Implied in that very statement from Mr. Shakespeare is that winter does not last forever. It will one day lift, and we will see it for what it was: a season.


Late Mornings, Early Evenings

The sun is rising later and later, and sleeping sooner and sooner.


All too soon those times will read a time past ten o’clock in the morning and as early as three o’clock in the afternoon.

At least those temperatures are above freezing.

Warm Temperatures and Border Collies

What do you do in fall/beginning of winter in Fairbanks, Alaska? Well, this girl soaks up the remaining sun and whatever warmth she can get.

Roads have been pretty slick in my neighborhood the past few days, but that hasn’t stopped me from heading out to do errands in town, then back home to play with the dog. About half of our snow has melted, and temperatures have been getting up to 40˚F–too warm when you have too much snow on the ground to melt in one day!

I’ve quickly found that the best thing about our house is the amazing natural light. Most of the windows of our house face almost due south, so we get to watch the sun traverse the sky throughout the day. This is great for me, since winter can be a hard time with its frigid darkness, and this means I can make some Vitamin D while warm indoors playing with my son!

The past couple of days, I have decided to forgo what would be a slick winter walk with my seven-month-old, and instead just head out to the backyard to throw the frisbee for the dog. We have a border collie. He recently turned ten years old, but he acts like he’s got the energy of a ten-week-old! If anyone knows border collies, then they know that there is no real “off” switch on these dogs. They go until they simply can’t. Which means they would rather die than stop fetching or herding (whichever they have been trained to do). They are people-pleasing and loyal, and ours really is a great dog. They have a fiercely loyal following as well, and after nearly ten years with ours, I can see why. He really is a great dog (but don’t tell my husband I said that!).

The problem with our dog is that he doesn’t know when to stop. He’s literally torn up his feet on sharp rocks, bleeding, flaps of skin hanging off his feet, and still fetches as if nothing is wrong (while the German Shepherd is whimpering in pain at her torn feet). I think that’s the definition of obsessive. However, I must admit that he has been taught to “turn it off.” In other words, my husband and I can tell him “that’s enough” and he takes the toy he’s been trying to get us to play with for the past half hour, and goes to bed. That’s pretty well trained.

I’ve even taken pains to train him to find his toys, as well as distinguish between them. Each of his toys has a name. We have “Mr. Blue,” “Giraffe,” “Green bone,” and a multitude of others. (What can I say, he’s the spoiled first “child.”) And he’s smart. Too smart.

Shortly after our son was born, the dog was having a hard time adjusting to not being the center of attention. He was a little neglected, and there were toys everywhere. It’s not uncommon, especially these hectic, pre-toddler days, to turn around after changing a diaper and trip over two toys. Or when you squeak a toy for the baby, the dog comes running, always eager and ready. But when our son was very young, perhaps days or weeks old, and when he’d cry, the dog would bring him all his toys. One very memorable moment was when my husband was changing our son’s diaper, and the dog brought about three or four toys over to drop at my husband’s feet, an offering to our son as if he were saying, “here, this makes me feel better, why don’t you try it?”

It’s taken me years to love this dog, but I have to say I appreciate him much more now than when I “adopted” him through marriage. He’s had ten good years. We’ll see how many more he gets!

Is It Winter Yet?

It looks like winter, but it sure doesn’t seem like the weather knows what it wants to be. Every time I think it has committed, the temperatures lift above freezing. What a rotten start to winter in Alaska: get lots of snow then have it warm up enough to partially melt it. Unfortunately this results in slick roads all winter long.

In other news, maybe it is winter. I took this picture of produce at Fred Meyer today, after nearly dying from shock. $2.29 a pound for broccoli?!? Then I remembered that I am in Alaska. (At least it’s Fairbanks and not Barrow or somewhere that milk is over $5 a gallon, and fuel over $8 a gallon.)

Low price every day. Ha!