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 woke thinking of that children’s poem,  “Who has seen the wind, neither you nor I,” since it’s wrong, and I can see the wind and have been able to for about a week, although this morning’s snow especially, filled in the breezy spaces on a walk across the Siberian plain that used to be my backyard.

 I was feeling pretty smug about wrapping all up and walking with Pearl, like I’d win an Arctic Woman Medal, but then we ran into my neighbor with her Lab Dolly, and another girl from town walking her bulldog, Samson. Of course we were all smiles about the weather and being out about in it. (At least I think so, under all the scarves and face masks).  Pearl stole Dolly’s Frisbee (well, Dolly let her borrow it, as they were closer to home and heading in when we saw them.) So the wind and I tossed the orange disc all the way back down the beach, with Pearl in happy pursuit.

The thing is, when the house shook from the wind, and the rumble of the snow plow signaled it was morning in the deep December darkness of my bedroom, I was a tad grumpy about the storm-force winds and bitter cold (9 degrees) that just won’t quit.  But my dog Pearl likes this weather as well as any other kind, maybe more, because there are so many tumbling sticks and snowballs, and that Frisbee to chase– so when we came back in from our walk, and the visits with other hale and hardy dogs and their people, I thought of another poem, the one by Wallace Stevens, which begins, “One must have a mind of winter…” and then continues, “not to think of any misery in the sound of the wind…” This morning I crossed that frozen creek from misery to joy about a mile down the beach. This much I do know: living happily in Alaska requires a mind of winter,  and there’s nothing like a  dog to remind you of that.