I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I am leaving for a vacation on Friday so I have been busy making copies of our wills (so our children will not be “Crawleyed” as poor Mary was. Then again, the “estate” does not require more management than a house-sitter to care for the chickens); packing (I used JJ’s list, borrowed a few things from Sarah, and then put it all in my suitcase and then took out five things, so I think I’m set)– and filling a sedative prescription for the flights. (You think I’m kidding?) Here’s the thing about me and vacations: I really like staying home. Haines is my favorite place to be. 

This morning especially, when everything was finally back to normal. Winter really settles in for the long haul after the sparkle of the holidays and to live here happily requires a heart that loves Winter.  This is the season– and the way we respond to it– that defines us. There was once again Morning Muscles at six am with most of the familiar faces, the overnight snow fall may have marooned some, but school began right on time, my dog walking friend and I  are back on schedule again, there is a joint borough assembly and school board meeting tonight, a hospice board meeting Thursday, the borough hired the Marine to manage us beginning in April, and a police chief candidate visited last week and another is on the way. There are home basketball games this weekend, the tree is down at the library, and the twinkling lights are still on in Main Street windows. Winter hours are in place. The trails are packed and set for snow shoes and skis, sort of as the  rain turned back to snow again, and the road crews have kept up really well, considering the volume and weight. 

No matter what they say on the news about Indiana being as cold as Alaska,  cold and storms do not define Winter around here. It’s the duration and strength of it.  Winter is not a news flash– it’s an endurance event. We have shoveled, plowed, skied, snow-shoed and navigated the car around about ten feet of snow so far, and we are about half way to spring.  I’m not complaining.  This  morning I got to walk the dog on a beautiful, calm, 30-degree beach in thick fog and lightly falling snow.

 We all agreed we were lucky to be in this place. Then my neighbor said,  “If the weather keeps up  we’ll still have snow on the ground in May.”  We have before, and we very well could again. We will also have more bone freezing cold, face crinkling wind and a flood or two before the daffodils bloom.

Which I guess means I really won’t be missing anything by heading down south for a few weeks. Please forgive me if the weather gets really bad while I’m gone. Once I get to Mexico, I’m sure  I will like the warm sunny beach half as much as I love this one.