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.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

A cold snowy day, filled with packing and errands and lists. The Christmas tree is out behind the wood shed, the decorations are in the box in Chip’s closet, so is the box full of Christmas books. The creche and nativity figurines are in a box in my closet. Good thing because the rest of our room looks like we have been robbed and the burglars couldn’t find the gold. I will never let you see it.

Packing is easy, my daughters say. Just put everything you  want to bring on the bed, open the suit case and your carry-on and put in what you need, leave the rest on the bed, and then take three things out. Travel light. You do not need as much as you think you do.

Well, we don’t have a suitcase between us. We are duffel bag people. But… there is a lot of schlepping in all the airports and customs lines from Lynn Canal to the Indian Ocean. Talk about changes in latitudes.  I mean, we are not  going to Tenakee on the ferry, and we really don’t need a rubber duffel bag. It is sunny down under and way over where we are going.

Enter friends: Here are three wheelie suitcases. Take what you want. Oh, and some pants that don’t fit me. Light, long, you will look great in them. And a linen shirt, or two, this one is nice, too-

Enter a daughter : I’ll come for a walk at 2,  inspect your packing and bring you some running shorts.

I told Sarah to bundle up. It’s been bitterly cold. Cover your face, I said. Chip shoveled a new path to the beach, as the old one drifted in. The tide was low, the sun was in the shade, and there was a light north wind. The temperature was around 20, but it felt warm. Perfect. Beautiful. We had to un zip our heavy parkas. Of course, now that I’m acclimated to winter, I am leaving it for summer.

Yesterday I tossed all the veggies and leftovers in the fridge into a pot and made soup and pulled out a loaf of Juneau sourdough bread from the freezer, so all I had to do for dinner tonight was warm it up. I tidied the house, cleared all the mess off the bed, looked at my perfectly organized luggage full of nice clothes that I have never or rarely worn, and said a few words of  gratitude. Right  on cue, two friends arrived with a bottle of wine and an another dog, and we had a little party and laughed and laughed.