Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nasty Weather

I was just driving up the hill out of town last night when the wind started blowing. A new storm moved ashore from the south, bringing copious amount of wind and rain. It continued without a break all day today, reducing our snow cover to a slushy mess.

So much for a winter wonderland.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sinking into Winter

14 inches of snow on the ground
20 degrees
Partly cloudy

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning. Outside, the world was smothered by a deep blanket of fluffy snow. Inside, we were cozy by the wood stove.

Our little west-facing kitchen window looked out on a world turned white overnight.

I like this time of year. Time slows down and the urgency of summer is past. Like the land beneath the snow, our lives lie fallow. This is the season of inward-turning thoughts, slow mornings and thick, enveloping night.

I think of this as the dark half of the year but not even our nights are spent in blackness. Rainy October was dark and dreary but now that the earth is covered with snow, the nights are ghostly-light even under overcast skies. And when the moon shines, we live in a fairyland. We walk out in a muffled landscape, its rough edges softened and hard surfaces cushioned.

We live now in the domain of a benevolent night. The sun's brief appearance across the southern sky is merely an interim in this land of winter darkness. Yet I do not fear the long night hours. I feel safe and sheltered in this quiet season. Sheltered and waiting--not with impatience but with gratitude for this peaceful time of year. We run at double-time all summer. Now is the time to cherish and heal and rest in the blessed night.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We started the day with two inches of snow on the ground but light snow began at mid-morning, just as it was getting light. I ran three cats into the vet clinic about ten and by the time we were leaving, the snow was coming down pretty steadily.

Even so, what was falling was so light and dry that we only had about an inch accumulation by sunset. Then the heavier snow began, moving through in slow waves that brought the visibility down to a mile on occasion.

There were a couple of inches of fresh snow on the car when I left work and it was coming down with a certain seriousness at the top of the bluff. I took this photo as I headed down Green Timbers Road toward home. It isn't much as far as pictures go but I think it conveys the sense of the evening.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I took this photo late this afternoon. The frozen snow was slowly sliding off the roof, catching the light from the sun.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sadie Peak

Fresh snow whitens Sadie Peak, rising 4320 feet above the shoreline of Kachemak Bay.

Click for full view

Friday, November 09, 2007


It's been very windy for the past two weeks with occasional heavy rain passing through. The weather has been more like September than October or November. Being Alaskans, we have been complaining about the lack of snow because frozen and cold we can handle better than cold and wet.

A strong flow from the southeast rattled windows and tarps on the bluff last night and I fielded a few calls during my evening shift from folks wondering how strong the winds were at the airport. (Official peak wind was 36 knots yesterday.) The callers told me that the winds up on the bluff and out the Old Sterling Highway were at least ten knots higher than that.

One fellow told me he had just driven down from Anchorage and the winds were howling along Turnagain Arm. (The weather station at Portage was reporting gusts to sixty when I checked...) He also said it was snowing pretty heavily in the pass all the way from Summit Lake to Cooper Landing. I perked up my ears at that because Denny had to get up at two to drive to Anchorage this morning.

But there was no sign of snow as I made my way home after work--just howling winds that drove the rain in sheets across the road. I told Denny what I had heard about conditions to the north of us--he was pretty fatalistic. It doesn't matter if the water is warm or cold if you are going to have to wade through it anyway: that sums up his outlook toward driving back and forth to Anchorage. If you have to do it, no sense worrying about the weather.

Still, I hoped the weather might have blown through before he had to leave.

No such luck--wind-driven rain greeted us as the truck was loaded and our good-byes were said. I stood on the porch as he pulled out of the driveway and hoped his journey would be safe.

While I was out there, I unplugged the plastic jack-o-lantern and pluged in the Christmas lights on the cat run. Except for one burnt-out bulbs, the lights worked, bathing the porch area with a suffuse light.

The seasons change...

The wind died out by the time I woke up. What woke me up at 7:30 was the peeping of the CO detector and the UPS as the power cycled off and on. And off again.

I couldn't hear any wind to explain why the power should be fluctuating so I looked outside. It was strangely light. I took the flashlight and looked more closely. Snow. Definitely snow. Three inches of heavy, wet stuff. That would explain the power outage.

I quieted the electronic alarms, lit the back-up lights in the shop and the back room for the cats and went back to bed. Because it was still dark and there wasn't much I could do anyway.

I wrote once that all it takes is a power outage to take us back to the nineteenth century. That isn't quite true. So many of our modern conveniences run on battery power that losing the grid is bothersome but not catastrophic. When it finally began to grow light outside, I got up, checked the wood stove, and put some water on the range to boil for coffee. With the oil lamps giving a soft glow and the radios playing the local AM station, I sat downstairs while I drank my coffee, working on a jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table.

We were off the grid but still very cozy

The snow gives even our utilitarian back yard a certain beauty.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A New Month Dawns

and reveals our Halloween decorations in the cold light of a November day...

Guess it's time to get ready for Christmas.

I wonder if the outside lights still work?