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The Consistency of Snow

I’m distracted today. Currently* sitting at my desk on the second story of the KNOM offices on 3rd Avenue and I keep catching myself staring out the window, watching the snow. Fellow volunteer Kristin is sitting across from me and she’s doing it too. The roofs are white. The ice on the window continues to grow in lace like patterns, blurring our view outside. Winter is here.

We’ve heard so much about winter in Alaska. That it’s dark. That it’s long. That it’s great if you just get outside! That 30 below is a real temperature on the spectrum. We’ve been briefed on road closings, and spent many evenings huddled around laptops comparing gear and hoping what we bought will be warm enough. In my first few months here I’ve seen the end of summer turn into a brief autumn before taking the express track into winter. And now that the season has arrived, I’m not quite sure how to react. What I do know is that there’s something so cozy about the first snow. It makes me want to do cliché things like drink tea and bake cookies and knit scarves. I don’t even know how to knit, but it feels like I should.

Winter is a mile stone, a concrete mark of the passing of time. As our lives slow down and we turn inward, I find myself still staring out the window by my desk, thinking back to this last time it was winter. About where I lived and who I was. The people I surrounded myself with. If I talk to them since I’ve moved. And I think about the winter before that. The snow in college. The snow in the city. Snow is a constant in my life, something that has happened year after year without fail, no matter where “home “ was that season. And there’s an undeniable comfort in that.

I think about the winters still to come. How winter anywhere else will probably never compare to the winter I am about to spend in Alaska.


*This post was written during the first snow in Nome: Wednesday, October 24th, 2014.


  1. Les on October 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve felt colder in Boston than I ever felt in Nome.

    In Boston you know that if you go out without dressing properly you’ll be cold.

    In Nome you know that if you go out (away from quick shelter) you’ll be dead.

    It’s a powerful incentive to dress properly. As I used often fail to do in and around Boston.

  2. Denise Whyte on October 25, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Buying more wool socks right now 🙂