Winter has come. No snow has fallen on the “homestead,” no frosts or freezes that linger more than an hour past daylight, but it won’t be long. The air has smelled of snow many days in the past week, even though the weather forecast makes no mention of it. Tomorrow we abandon Daylight Saving Time, a truly useless conceit in Alaska’s latitudes (see Stop Messing Around with Time!). I feel ready, even eager to turn inward, to settle in for winter.
I’ve been enjoying the morning ritual of cleaning the wood stove glass, laying and starting a fire (see Cleaning Woodstove Glass: How and Why). I find myself settling down for at least a few moments to quietly contemplate the growing flames before turning to other tasks. I quickly packed away our Halloween decorations, the better to enjoy a week or so before preparing for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season hard on its far side. To welcome Winter itself.
These moments will fly by. We’re traveling for Thanksgiving this year; we face a push of preparations to close down the homestead enough to ease the burden of friends who will watch over the property in our absence. We still have a few travel arrangements to finalize, we must pack, and, perhaps most important of all, mentally prepare for the trip.
We don’t leave the “homestead” lightly, particularly during the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are, for me, home celebrations. For all the joy of reuniting with family for the annual feast, the disconnect from our own home and hearth jars and disorients. By the time we return to our land, our Christmas season will have already begun. We’ll have some catching up to do.
So, perhaps to help assuage that, for now, I’m focusing on plain, unadorned, non-holiday Winter. As ever, I’m falling back on our philosophy of simple living, and trying not to complicate our lives prematurely. It’s time—for the moment—to live in the moment.
And right now, the moment is winter.