The winter solstice marks the official start to winter, which, until I moved to Alaska, always seemed sort of extraneous to me: there had been snow on the ground for weeks, usually, and I’d long since traded in shorts and sandals for mittens and boots.
A slamming car door jolts me from sleep. Light is flooding in the windows, despite my meticulous arrangement of towels and sweatshirts in an effort to keep it out. A few hours ago, I could hardly keep my eyes open; now I can hardly wait to get on the road.
“Good morning,” a groggy Bix greets me. “Aren’t you glad I arranged our stay at the luxurious Hotel Subaru for our anniversary?”
The changing of the seasons is often used as a metaphor, even a euphemism. “She’s no spring chicken,” we say of those who have entered the autumns of their lives. We turn over new leaves and blossom (or don’t) in our careers and, when the going gets rough, spend some time in hibernation.
I’m not what you’d call a water person. In fact, except in its frozen forms, I feel pretty averse to spending time in or near large bodies of water.
As I wrap up my second year in Alaska, I spend a lot of time ruminating on the idea of adventure.
The word “adventure” suffers the same serious overuse as its cousins, “epic” and “amazing.” Everyone’s Instagrammed lunches are epic; any old sunset counts as amazing; every trip to an all-inclusive beachside resort is an adventure.
Tell that to Ernest Shackleton.