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.


Of course this is the week I have decided to be at my desk every morning and it has begun with a continued winter storm warning for more heavy snow, and that means snow management (raking roofs, shoveling paths, raking roofs, shoveling.. repeat)– The pool is closed – it may open later — school is closed, the clinic is hoping to open this afternoon, same with the library. Mud Bay Road is plowed, but over in my daughter’s neighborhood downtown only the main drags are clear, and even then, not that clear, and the snow is coming down harder than it was Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night, and it’s warming up fast from single digits into the twenties and soon to be thirties and could rain. Erik at the Haines Avalanche Center says we have had 146 plus inches of snow this winter so far, but that’s a tad low as the drifts make this new storm hard to measure. Most of that snow is still here as we haven’t had any thaws, although one is coming so my neighbor is thinking about filling sand bags to detour the run off from her back door. “Just in case.”

Good grief.

Our yard has bare ground in some places, and the snow is over your head in others. Great curling dunes of snow drifts are shifting and swirling like waves down on the beach, where I can’t go right now even with snowshoes- the depth and stability is too uneven.

All this weather to work with, and I am supposed to be a writer, and inspiring my fellow Alaskan writers in what has been advertised as an informal workshop  on Thursday at 6pm via Zoom with the 49 Writers group (check their site to sign up). It’s all about getting to work on those new projects for a new year. Discipline. Staying at your desk. Setting work hours. Courage. Fortitude. Fun. And here I am thinking I really should begin my new year’s work tomorrow. But– I aim to practice what I preach so I am here right now, in my wooly outoor gear in between shovels, while mittens dry out, typing a few words.

William Stafford says begin each day at your desk by writing the date. Write it first, right on the top of the page. Have faith that a poem, an essay, a novel, a blog even– a lifetime– will follow. I think it is also important to know exactly where you are. As Eudora Welty (mostly) said: Place is where a writer has her roots, where she stands in her experience, out of which she writes- it provides the base of reference, the point of view.