First Hard Frost

Pearl's backyard water dish was iced over this morning, and Joanie was scraping the ice off her car at the swimming pool after her earlybird swim. The plumbers are working to get the boiler running and the heat back on inside the Chilkat Center, and the Sticklers are replacing the roof above them. Fishing season is over, the firewood is stacked on the porch, and the spring chickens have just begun laying their eggs. (Three so far.)  Roger and his crew are up early finishing the paving downtown, and friends have sold their home and moved south, for better weather and closer healthcare. Beckie Chapin's mother ,Lola, died at her senior housing apartment Thursday, in her sleep. She was 82 and preparing to move, as well, with the Chapin's to Wyoming. Beckie said she had arterial fibrillation, but that they'll never really know what happened. The boy who was shot, Jason Albecker, is doing better in Anchorage, but his knee will probably never be the same, and today I meet with Dan Harrington and his family to write his lovely wife  Jan's obituary. She died of cancer in Anchorage on Friday. My first thought was oh no, that can't be, she was doing so well. She had been living so graciously with her illness for so long I forgot about it.  I didn't know she was that sick. Maybe that's the way she wanted it. That way we remember her as that rare person who was so beautiful both inside and out. Her memorial will be on Saturday. There is solace in having babies nearby, the two in our family are both teething, and the toddler is talking all day long. Her words now sound less like Thai and more like English. "Why?" she asks me, about everything, from the egg we found in the coop to the bear prints on the beach. Today I think I'll bring her with me to vote in the local election. When she asks why, I'll tell her because that's what good citizens do. When she asks why, I'll start to say so that the police will come if she is in danger, and the fire department will carry her out of that burning building-- but I don't want to answer those whys, or even bring up their possibilty, so instead I'll say, because I want to be sure she has a good school to attend, and the library is open for storytime, and the Chilkat Center is warm and dry this winter for her dance class, that's why. When I say "dance" I know she'll stop asking why, and put her hands over head and twirl. Which is about the best response to this frosty clear day-- to life really-- that I can think of.



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