I'm Home. Phew.
It is really bad form to complain that Florida was a little on the cold side when it's minus one and blowing fifty in Haines. (Here we northerners are shell-combing on an empty Gulf beach on a blustery day when the locals wore down coats and wool hats as they scurried from cars to homes.) We did a have a fun trip filled with family and old friends and good music-- what's not to love about Lucinda Williams from the fifth row, outside, in the sun? (As Chip said, 60 degrees is a great day at the Haines fair.)
When my friend Fred returned in December from a trip to all kinds of great places-- Poland, Bulgaria, Wisconsin, Key West, New York-- I asked him what was his favorite place, and he said "Haines, America." When my neighbor Fran got home from hiking in Norway last fall, I asked if the mountains and fjords were as beautiful as I'd heard, and she said, yes, but the best scenery they saw was on the drive down to Haines from the airport in Whitehorse. Grandma Joanne's neighbors in Ocala felt bad that we had to head back north so soon-- they wished we could stay until March, at least, to avoid all that horrible cold and snow and ice. They were incredulous when I said I missed it. Still, I must have grown a little soft, because when I saw the temperature this morning (-1) and heard the wind rattling the house, and looked out on the Siberian tundra of my backyard, I called my dog walking pal, and suggested we find a place out of the wind, later, when it may be warmer, for our daily walk-- but she was already on her way. The thing is, it wasn't that bad at all-- it was nice to be bundled and wrapped and marching (and slipping-- lots of ice underfoot) and talking a mile a minute along on an Alaskan beach in January. It felt normal. Like Jimmy Buffet sings, it's good to be where the climate suits my clothes. Pearl and Phoebe are happy, the chickens are cozy in the coop with a bowl of warm mush, the plants have been watered, the washing machine is churning, the fire is hot, and there's bean soup in the pot so we can eat early and go to the basketball game tonight. It's nice to go away, but it's nicer to come home.