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.

The other day a friend said, “we lost two weeks” she meant work, normal life, plans- and for some in Haines, everything. Jenae and David. Phil. Johnnie, and Hal now. And homes ( I think there are nine gone for sure, and maybe a few more that aren’t going to  be lived in again.) 17 people are still being housed in town and assisted by the different folks and organizations still helping with that. Down from a few hundred, who are now back at home. Still, others have left town for a while. Until, say, spring.

There are counselors at school and my granddaughters say they have helped. There is a kind of sadness, and a kind of gratitude, and it’s almost Christmas and it has been snowing now for two days and one night, and it is supposed to continue through tomorrow, at least. It’s very quiet, and white and cold outside, and wintry in a good way, inside.

I am struggling a bit with feeling so comfortable and warm. With Papa Bob on the couch, the Messiah on the stereo, baking something sweet, stoking the fire, and the cheerful tree with all my rag tag ornaments that mean so much. I feel guilty that I’ve lost my tight shoulders and the stutter of distress. I don’t miss them though. Today I did a lot of nothing. I even took a long snow shoe in what was most of the dim daylight (there are supposed to be about six hours of it,  but the automatic sensor on my neighbor’s driveway light was on all day) anyway, out there marching loops in the woods and down on the beach, I felt lighter than I have in weeks in spite of the slog through deep snow. The dogs tumbled and romped along, and we didn’t see a soul, just a flock of pigeons and a few crows. I sang a little bit, softly, as I didn’t want to be disrespectful of the mourning community and the Covid plagued world. Still, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” just came out of me. I couldn’t help it. “O Come Emmanual” did too. And then the French carol about the snow laying on the ground and stars shining bright that makes kids laugh in church on Christmas Eve because of the ass in it.

The world is packed with beauty and sorrow. That’s just the way it is. And don’t you think that means we need to take whatever joy that comes our way when we feel it? Even the smallest bits? So we don’t fall into utter despair and climb into a snow cave with fudge and wine and hibernate until May or– ever? What is it that Yeats wrote– that peace comes dripping slow? Well, I can tell you that sometimes, at least one time anyway– today–  peace came falling out of the sky like December snow and I welcomed it.