A young friend of mine from Barrow was talking to her mother recently. Mom was here in Anchorage at the time. It was right after the New Year and the young lady commented that there was light now during the middle of the day so she knew the sun would soon be back.
It’s statements like these that make me realize that if I don’t take care, Anchorage is going to turn me into a real whimp. Here I am longing for the days to lengthen so that I have some incentive to get out of bed before 10 AM. I forget how many years I got up regardless of the light outside because for so many months there simply was none.
Even my birds are fooled by the strange winters they now endure in which there is daylight every day. They’d grown quite accustomed to the light/dark cycle of the Arctic and were quite content to sleep all winter and stay extremely alert all summer.
In fact, it seemed that no matter how dark a curtain I put on their cages in the summer, they sensed that it was light out and were completely un-amused by my attempts to sleep for any of that light time. I often found myself sneaking around my house at midnight when the sun was shinning through the living room window in the hopes they wouldn’t hear me and think it was time to start a new day.
And now it seems that I not only have to get use to daylight in winter but also to rain and above freezing temperatures. For a long while I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be able to look out the window and see the trees budding.
Then the temperature dropped, the ground froze into a huge ice skating rink and some strange sort of winter returned.
It’s almost too cruel to bear. At least in Barrow we only have to face breakup once a year. Here in Anchorage, it seems to be an ongoing event that can pop up anywhere, anytime.
I don’t think rain will ever look normal to me in December and January. I live in Alaska for goodness sakes. Or at least, darn close to it. And rain is not supposed to happen in the middle of winter.
I guess I could just quit my complaining and move to Buffalo if I really want a normal winter. But I do fear that family and friends would finally cave in and have my sanity legally tested if I did. Since I am never sure on a good day whether I could pass that test, I’d best not do any moves of that nature in the near future.
But that leaves me stuck with this strange hybrid that Anchorage accepts as winter and I don’t quite know how to get accustomed to it.
Do I keep my break up boots available all year? Am I supposed to have light winter clothing as well as deep winter clothing in my closet at the same time? Am I supposed to actually have (gasp of horror) two wardrobes active at once?
I was told that moving to civilization would take some adjustment. I’ve learned to live with paved streets. I now know that traffic lights can be my friend even if all the other drivers take them as a personal challenge.
I no longer leave Sam’s Club looking like I plan to survive a nuclear winter. I do not feel compelled to buy dog food by the 50-lb. bag and bird food by the gross. I no longer go to movies three times a week for fear I won’t get a chance to go next week. And I now feel reasonably sure that my water will not run out.
What I can’t apparently be sure of is that winter will actually come to Anchorage and act in any way like a normal season. So I guess I’ll just have to look at winter in Anchorage with its rain the way I looked at summer in Barrow with its snow.
Normal is as normal does.