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.

It felt so warm that I opened the windows to air out the house this morning. I closed them fairly quickly, with heating fuel at 5 dollars a gallon and the wood pile shrinking at an alarming rate thanks to the long cold snap. Also, it is still December, and after a day and a half  of slush and rain, we have been granted a kind of amnesty today. The stars were bright and a crescent moon rose this morning over the mountains– and sun (!) and mid 30s  are forecast for the rest of the day, before the snows return tomorrow and last through Monday, the weather service in Juneau says. Weather is news,  especially in December when there’s so much of it. I’m still thinking about the play, The Dixie Swim Club, and how fun it was.  (And how brave the actresses were to wear shorts and swim suits on stage this time of year.) Walking the dogs under those stars on the dark beach this morning with friends, we talked about how we would have enjoyed it even if we didn’t know the actresses, but they made it even better. I like stories about friends who have stayed close since high school– and remain so through old age.  Maybe it is easier to do it well when you don’t live in the same town, and only visit one weekend a year, like the cast in the play. Maybe it’s easier in fiction than real life. Maintaining relationships over decades in a small town can be exhausting and challenging and sometimes perhaps, not worth the heartache.  Sometimes you have to walk away from the darker arguments toward the light and hope that time will heal the hurt. It’s a choice to be happy and not keep up your end of an argument, even when you are right. (I always am. Aren’t you?) Like one of the characters said in the play– never fight with a pig, he enjoys it and all you get is muddy. As my friends and I walked along the beach this morning the windows brightened up on the road, we could see a Christmas tree in one  window and twinkling lights in another. They were as welcome as the moon and stars. That’s life– darkness and light and sometimes a few explosions. Last Saturday the canon blew signaling the Lighting of Fort Seward. This Saturday at 4 there will plenty of both bright lights and fireworks for the parade, featuring the Snow Dragon, and afterward it’s the Uglys’ 11th annual Gifts for Grubs dinner at the Legion. (Auntie Vi’s memorial is at the Legion Friday at 4.)  Then Sunday afternoon at 4 is the Holly Jolly Christmas Follies at the Chilkat Center with a community sing-a-long of the Alleluia Chorus. Our choir has been practicing that and a few carols (we were a little thin last week, what with school holiday events and the flu, so hopefully more sopranos will be there Thursday– and Sunday.) Yesterday afternoon, I took Caroline to her ballet class with Madame Kim, in the Zumba studio on Main Street. It was so sweet watching the 3-5 year-olds  in tutus and tights (or pants and bare feet for the boys) concentrating so hard on steps and sashaying happily around the room. They are all action at this age. Hurt feelings are quickly forgotten. It was dark when I had picked Caroline up at 3:30, and dark when we returned home, and she said, “Is it bedtime Mimi?” I said no, and we looked at the twinkling lights in the window of her new house, “Your mommy’s making supper, how nice it that?” She said, “So-so nice.” Then she said, “Mimi you are my best friend.” At the door, I watched her run inside, and my whole day (and night and this morning too,) was that much brighter.