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.

“Particles of raw inspiration sleet through the universe all the time. Every once in a while one of them hits a receptive mind, which then invents DNA or the flute sonata form or a way of making light bulbs wear out in half the time.” – Terry Pratchett

Dec. 29 2:45 pm, 33 degrees, strong north wind, high tide. Sleeting hard. About a foot of snow. Chilkat River beach.

I really needed some fresh air, the clear your head kind that the Dutch like, but I got more than I bargained for. Chip came too, and the dogs. We did a half-walk, since it was almost dark, sleeting, and I’m still a little sick. We headed into the wind first. That guarantees the way home will be better. Today that was very important.(There is a metaphor here but I’m not 100%. I’ll let you figure it out.)

The snow, especially the drifts, made it hard to walk, so we stuck to the ribbon of sand at the edge of the ebbing tide. Head down, no talking, as words were swallowed by the wind and waves and pepper of sleet. On my coat, pants, hat, hood and glasses. I could have used windshield wipers since I couldn’t see through the ice shell,  but was glad I had them so I could look up every now and then to see where we were going. At least I had eye protection.

I sometimes wonder if  my children were gifted at say, playing the viola or platform diving, but because I didn’t expose them to it, we never knew, and they never reached their potential. I like the idea that inspiration flies through the sky like sleet, and that in Haines anyway, where they grew up, there are plenty of sleet particles and they pretty much can’t miss a person. I made them play outside a lot. As adults, they still do.

And, you know, moving about in what some would call extreme conditions, especially when they are close to home, makes a person feel great. Strong. Hale and hardy. Invincible. That’s a gift, too, isn’t it?

And now, I’m going to soak in a hot bath with eucalyptus salts and count my blessings, which are more than my ten fingers and ten toes combined.