You step outside with your layers of warm cotton, rain resistant nylon, and cozy wool to breathe in a clean, crisp, breath of ocean air. Welcome to your morning in Nome.
For my first few weeks here, the smell of ocean air paired with the chilly atmosphere totally baffled my senses. I would step out for a walk, take in my fair share of oxygen and immediately my mind would flood with thoughts of sunscreen and hot sand. It only takes on frigid gust of wind to dispel those thoughts and bring you back into the reality of being in Nome, Alaska over, say, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The cold air and lack of conventional seaside frolicking hasn’t kept Nome’s shores from becoming my favorite haunt in town.
Maybe it’s the fact that no matter where I am in the world, the beach reminds me a bit of homespun vacation memories tucked back in the ‘North Carolina’ box of my mind, or perhaps it’s just the fact that the feel of yielding sand beneath your feet paired with the sound of crashing waves is always a recipe for a zen moment, but I find myself walking the same seaside paths week to week. When you’re off having an adventure far from home like we volunteers are, it is important to take time and space to reflect and continue to develop the connection between where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. I know, I know, I’m getting a little sentimental and deep here. That’s probably because as I am writing this I am occasionally taking glances out toward the sea. You see? It just brings out the inner-peace in me. It is magic.
Going to the beach doesn’t always mean being alone with your thoughts. You can always find a friend to take a walk with at the Volunteer House. This especially is a fun time of year to hang out at the beach as you can take turns chucking ice into the water, acting as lookouts for marine mammals, and climbing the rock wall. Watching the ocean freeze over is such a surreal experience. The closest experience I have with bodies of water freezing in my presence is when I load the freezer with a freshly refilled ice cube tray. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to walk on the ocean. Hello whimsy. Until then I’ll just keep track of the progress it is making from my window view.
(You’ll have to excuse me for all of the slight altered photos. I enjoy editing all of my photos to look like they came out of Lana Del Rey music videos.)