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Winter Solstice in the Woods

December 22, 2014

“There is a sunrise and sunset every day. You can choose to get in the way of beauty.” (Laura Dern’s character in Wild)

Watching the sun is restorative and I have found that almost anything is better after a dosage of one or the other. I’m one of the lucky ones because this year, I’ve been able to catch the sunrise and sunset on both sides of the country more than any other year of my life.

Even so, celebrating solstice is always special to me. I feel like it’s the true Thanksgiving of Alaska because people seem to be out in Mother Earth even more than usual and everyone is in a thankful mood as we celebrate the shortest day of the year.

Just last month, watching the sun looked like this from my hotel in Folly Beach:

P1000645Stunning. Peaceful. It never gets old, but yesterday, I got to go hiking near my home in Anchorage on the Near Point trail and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I passed by a couple of bikers, and wished them a Happy Solstice to which one replied, “Oh yeah, I completely forgot.” That’s super unusual around here because Winter Solstice is something people use as a wish to others almost like we wish people a Happy New Year.

As I hiked, I remembered when I first moved to Alaska. I thought about my family, and how I miss them. Even though I just saw bits and pieces of them, I miss our unity. I thought about the students I spoke with all week, and how I’m very tired fighting for them, but how I’ll never stop. I thought about my friends, and the need I have for them. I remembered my cabin in Fairbanks and this particular boy that I loved seeing in that particular cabin at that time in my life. I lingered on that thought for a moment. I thought about my dog Lia, and how I use to take her skijoring on trails nearby. I thought about where I wanted to go next year for travel. And then, I stopped. I soaked in all of the glory in front of me, and forced my mind off for just a moment. For a moment, I was still and present and calm. I was home.

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Happy Winter Solstice everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

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From → Alaska, Hiking

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