Here in Southeast we get weeks of fog and clouds. Months probably. But every once in a while the moon comes out, and what a moon.
When we are within the bright lights of the city, we are so full of ourselves that we forget how tiny we are. Only a few stars and planets burn hot enough for us to notice. But, away from the city, the stars are so numberless and infinite that you can feel properly humbled when you look up; the Milky way like a big curdled river, more stars than dark.
I took this picture with my point and shoot Canon. No editing, no Photoshop. This is real, only you might not be able to see it from where you are.
The price of kibble -
This is what makes all that dog food worthwhile: to watch a puppy chasing seagulls with such joy and abandon that you feel it, too. She doesn’t care that she is never going to catch them, she is just enjoying the spring of her muscles as she reaches top speed and then flings herself into the air.
This place rocks -
And rolls. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake off our coast this morning made me shimmy. I happened to be outside and it was like standing on the deck of a ship at sea. Thankfully no damages or injuries as far as I have heard, just a little reminder of how fast Mother Nature can change the subject of the conversation if she feels like it.
Scoring the Tempest - Weather 1, Shell 0 -
Fierce storms brewed up in the Gulf of Alaska the week after Christmas. The tempests drove the Shell drilling rig to ground off of Kodiak and pushed a warm front all the way to the mainland coast where we spent nearly a week in the grip of a wet and wretched thaw.
I know some of my neighbors enjoy a respite from the cold. I am glad, too, to shake the aches out of my bones and to start my car easily for a change. The problem is this: we have a lot of precipitation here where the mountains meet the sea. When it is cold, the clouds unfold lovely feathery flakes of snow beautiful to look and ski upon. When it is warm, the same clouds unload nothing but rain and slop and slurry, until we have an inch of standing water over ice in the low spots.
On the plus side, warmth breathes color and sound back into the landscape. Alders blush an unexpected red when naked. On a walk with my mother-in-law, we stopped to listen to a stand of spruce trees dripping melt and rain into a deep puddle. Each drop had its own timbre in accordance with size and height and depth. It sounded like a symphony of glockenspiels playing a modernist masterwork.
Despite this, I am happy to report that the cold has returned, for now, and muffled my spruces in snow once more.
Happy New Year! May 2013 bring all of us happiness, health, laughter, love and success in our endeavors, big and small.
My favorite writing blog, 49 Writers, has selected a flash fiction piece that I wrote, called “Book Learning,” for their Alaska Shorts feature. Go to http://49writers.blogspot.com/ to read it. Please take the time to leave a comment there if you like the story.
Cirque Journal (‘the finest literary and artistic talent in the North Pacific Rim’) published one of my stories “Lillian’s Lilacs” in their latest issue (Volume 4, Number 1).
The full contents of the magazine are available free on line (www.cirquejournal.com) or you can purchase a paper copy if you feel you need to hold it in your hands. (The premium version has shiny paper, the Amazon version has matte paper, if you were wondering what the difference is.)
Also, even though this is an Alaskan story set near the Canadian border, I would like to say that it is not autobiographical in any way, that any resemblance to real people is an unfortunate coincidence, and that all of our neighbors are kind and helpful and lovely people who have never tried to harm us in any way, as far as I know.
If you read it, please let me know, I would love to hear your impressions and your comments.
If you read it online and you like it, why not donate a dollar or two to the magazine, after all it is the holidays!
A perfect chevron sky. Make of that what you will…
To go and go and never stop -
When there is snow on the Lake and you can ski as far as you want into the emptiness, it makes me feel as though I might keep on going forever and never turn around.
This is a guest blog photo from the excellent collection my mother put together after her time here this December. If you would like to see the whole collection and haven’t yet, send me a note with your email and I will send you the link.
Happy Holidays! (photo WBP)
The mountains are on fire in the mornings.
Single Digits -
Its been cold outside. The kind of cold that instantly crisps all the hairs inside your nose. The kind of cold where the stars come down and beat like iridescent moths above your head at night.