Monday, December 27, 2010


For us, the word "home" usually just means "where we're staying tonight." But for me, nothing can restore the the old settled meaning of that word like leaning over Mom's kitchen sink so that I can look up through the window at the Chugach Mountains while I'm filling the coffeepot in the morning. And then walking through to the living room, opening up the shades and looking out across the Anchorage Bowl. During the day, the city is nearly invisible in the flatland below. In darkness, the lights twinkle below us like multi-colored stars. On a clear day, we can see all the way to Mt McKinley / Denali, more than a hundred miles away.

It warmed up quite a bit today. Must have been 10º or 15º above zero! That's -12 to -9 if you think in Celsius. Beautiful day for a ski. I always used to step into my skis on the front step and go from there, but back when I lived here the road hardly ever got gritted. Now it's a hike from the house to the trailhead, carrying the skis and poles if I want them to survive. I took the easy way out and had Mike drive me up to the Park entrance. Only had time for a short trip, but it was glorious. The sun was illuminating the mountains above me, and there were even a few bits of the trail that came out into direct sunlight. So I saw the sun "set" three times as I skied in and out of the shadows of the land around me, all the while watching the early sunset (1pm) colors reflected in the snow.

I haven't done as much skiing on this stay as I'd like to, and the first time I came out, I forgot my gloves. And it was cold! Made for a very short trip, but I discovered that it is possible to ski cross-country (I guess they call it "classic" now) with no poles when you have to keep your hands stuffed up their opposite sleeves to thaw your fingers! This time I had the gloves, and it was warm enough anyway that I needed to remove a couple of layers on the way up the hill. And warm enough to stop for many pictures. I'm putting them in a facebook album.