As I wrote on Instagram this morning, "The light is blue, not black, because the sky and ocean refuse to concede the day, short as it seems this time of year, to the night."
Dim and short as the day is here in Port Townsend, a few days before Solstice, it is 4 hours longer than today would be in Anchorage, Alaska, where I lived nine years. I should be grateful, but sometimes I long for the whiteness. There, snow reflected every particle of light from the sun, moon, and stars. The hues of blue and ever-present shadows blurred the days and nights into surreal scenes where time lost its power. The seasons were mostly just summer and winter. Fall and spring started late, went fast, and left.
Granted, I survived the long, long winter blues by three-day weekend flights for a green-fix in Seattle or a two-week sun-fix to Hawaii. Flights were cheap, relatively speaking. Possibly subsidized by the state's mental health agency. There were many reasons for the term "break up" in the dirty long phase of winter when snow melted, froze, made mud, froze, melted again, froze, and finally dissolved completely. It was crazy making.
Cross-country skiing kept me sane close to home. To fly across those photogenic hills, passing moose sunk up to their antlers, beneath giant yellow-tinted spotlights on the best-groomed wilderness and park trails, was unlike any equivalent in rainy Port Townsend. Here, it's a slip and slide on wet leaves, pining for light and color in left over Autumn leaves, until I get to the ocean where stormy white caps or calm glass-like reflections hint at the snow. It's not cold enough at sea level for real snow, most of the time. When it does snow, it doesn't stay long. There's nothing to break up. Winter is the season that races in and out so quickly, barely showing her face around the Solstice, or up there where the clouds part and I see her on the mountains—those mountains that go north to Alaska.