170222 Today was a day of days. I taught 2nd grade all day in Fairbanks, then I threw a bunch of stuff in my car trying to catch every microsecond of light I could for the 2 hour drive ahead of me in snow flurry filled conditions. I have no idea where to begin the thanksfuls for this day, so I’m just going to begin at the start of my car trip. Thankful that the library in Fairbanks opts not to fine people for late books, they will simply charge you for it if it’s a month or two past due, and if you bring it back you get your money back. So I didn’t have to detour to the other side of town to return my items due today. I was also thankful that the flurries subsided around the same time the traffic died down about 1/3rd of the way to my cabin. I arrived just as the darkness began to overtake the sky and didn’t have to decipher the road or ditches so hard for those tanks we call moose.
I arrived to my cabin in late Feb for the first time since just after Christmas, and I had that knowing feeling when I saw the drive buried in over a foot of snow and a set of tracks from the end of the driveway to the house. Without walking on them I followed them all around the house, leaving me to wade through foot and a half deep snow and find my back door broken open. I went in and found the only thing that appeared missing was the game cam that was for tracking intruders…apparently not well hidden enough. I gathered myself and went back to the car the only spot of warmth around where I could collect my thoughts for a moment and quit moving. Thankful that the weather was over 10 degrees and the car was still warm now that my jeans were soaked and cold. This one is so big I can’t even say. If the weather had been even -20 which is an easy possibility any winter day here, then every thing after this point would be 3 times harder with 4 times more stress factor. You can’t mess around with your core warmth when you are arriving to a cold cabin. I was so thankful for my trusty Blaze King stove and kindling that was quick to light.
Though it would be a few hours before I couldn’t see my breath inside, it went right to work. Then I changed into my reliable underarmour fleece pants. Thankful. Also thankful for the few minutes left of energy in my phone that make a quick call to let someone know my situation before it died and would not charge for a few hours until everything warmed up. Thankful for the long snow shovel in the shed left by the previous owners so I could carve a parking space for my car in the driveway. And thankful for years growing up in Minnesota winters so I can competently use a snow shovel. And thankful for the know how to break up the work. Stop shoveling, get some bags from the car, haul them to the house. Check that the wood stove is still keeping fire. Go back out and shovel some more.
Thankful that Taylor and I had chainsawed and stacked wood over the summer to prepare for winter warmth. Thankful to have the woodstove at all since the back up propane fueled Toyo won’t start. And so thankful that this summer we moved the power pole got the electricity reactivated so I can turn on lights and see, and even have outdoor light for my shoveling.
While shoveling I felt weirdly peaceful knowing I no longer have anything in this cabin worth stealing. The most valuable thing was the security equipment that was stolen… I think this is a great lesson in both how real life is in Alaska sometimes and how freeing minimalism can be. There were still some totes upturned, and crates rifled through, but I think the thief quickly realized there wasn’t much (s)he could gain from this house except bedding, kitchenware and home repair. I am also really grateful that the person did not do needless damage to my things. This is the fourth time my place has been broken into, and I feel like I learn a little bit more every time, and I let go a little bit more every time. And weirdly have a little more faith in humanity.
(Side note: Today I also realized it’s hard to be creative when your time is consumed by basic need fulfillment. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in action!)