The greenhouse is cleaned out and the yard is pretty much put to bed. Our garbage service recently sent a note to say they’ll stop picking up the yard debris can at the end of the month and won’t start up again till May. That is six months from now.
The sun rises at 8:45 am and doesn’t go so high in the sky anymore. The geese are winging their way out of here and the falltime stopover swan have nearly all gone too. Last weekend we moved our chickens into their brand new winter home, spacious, well-lit, and warm, where they will bide their time when snow soon covers the ground.
I have a pretty good idea how it goes from here. The seasonal swings are super wide in this bucket-list landscape. The rhythms are intense. From midnight sun to deep dark winter. And it is true that my feelings about This Alaska Life have swung just as widely, though not nearly as predictably. It’s been a decade that has challenged me to the edge of my tolerances. And met me with beauty and goodness, even in (or especially in) my griefs.
One morning last week we woke up to snow blanketing our yard like a well flocked Christmas tree, and another morning I had to dig out my icebugs for an icy walk. But there are leaves still falling from trees and lots of ducks and a few straggling swan still hanging around in the Lagoon, bottoms up. As the seasons change, they are doing their living here, right on into the crossfade.
And this is what it feels like at our house these days. Last week when the UPS truck stopped by to deliver David some stuff he needs for his new Portland-based job, which starts November 1, it felt like spitting snow in mid-October. Things are changing here. David will work from home through the rest of the school year and even as we live on into these coming months here in Alaska, we’ll be making decisions and plans for our move back to Oregon in the late spring/early summer.
I am delighted with this move back “home,” but even as I work on logistics and make plans, I am keenly aware of the leaves crunching beneath my feet. I walk my daily routes and know how much I’m going to miss this place. I sit in the backyard, bundled in hat and gloves and layers of coat, watching our chickens carry on, oblivious to huge change ahead. Scratch and peck. Living right here. Right now.
The last 3 moves we’ve made – to and from and to Alaska again – have been much more rushed than this one appears to be and I am very grateful for the time we’ve been given to live deeply right on into the crossfade. As I shuffle through fallen leaves and the snowflakes land on my face, I am saying thank you. And goodbye. It will take some time.