The Centennial State has been good to me so far. In the wake of my grief over losing Lucky, I find myself most at peace when my poor, sea level-spoiled lungs are gasping for thin, Rocky Mountain air. It’s the pounding on my knees, the familiar, repetitive motions, the sun beating down on my already sunburned shoulders. The throbbing and aching and sweating are welcome if fleeting distractions, and the runners’ high after a long jaunt is usually enough to ward off Lucky-related tears for awhile.
“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.”
Things took a turn for the worse for me on my last day on the Last Frontier. My beloved black lab, Lucky, was hit by a car and killed instantly just hours before we were supposed to head home, and as you can probably imagine, it hit me pretty hard.
I am the only child of doting parents who reacted with the same enthusiasm to my less-than-stellar high school track performances—“But you didn’t get lapped this time!” they’d exclaim, “You’re much faster than the girl with the knee brace!”—as they might if I became an astrophysicist, and if you asked them, they’d probably tell you I’m smart enough for that, too. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that I didn’t really experience feelings of doubt about my station in life until the summer before I moved to Alaska.
Once I recovered from my professional-grade hangover, my January was off to an excellent (second) start. APU offers month-long block classes in January and May, which means students have an entire month to get credit for doing awesome stuff. Case in point: this month, I’m taking Winter Wilderness Skills, in which I get my Level 1 avalanche certification and ski and camp for an elective credit. Needless to say, I am pumped.
I have spent the better part of the last month or so in a bit of a funk. A number of factors could have contributed to this: the overwhelming nature of finishing my first semester of grad school, the inherent homesickness that comes with living 3,500 miles from my family and friends, the fact that my neck of the woods gets just under seven hours of daylight this time of year, the list goes on.