Termination Dust

The big old Harvest moon gave us a extra celestial show by revealing Jupiter as close as it’ll be until 2026 or so.

The essence of sinessense hangs in the air. Its mixture of wet dog and old tennis shoes signals that the plants are dying or hibernating and the seasons are changing. Funny how the plants need to die before we can see the yellows and reds in their leaves that the greens have been hiding all summer.

What a summer it was or was it? Most folks rant about how we were cheated out of good weather, decadal oscillation, global warming or what have you. Yes, the weather could’ve been better for us and for the spruce bark beetles. They hate cool rainy summers, so there’s the bright side.

Alaska is notoriously hard on small planes and this summer was above average in crashes and fatalities, from an over-loaded bird (with kids sitting on the luggage) that put down in Fairview to the commercial flight that killed Alaska’s longest-serving Senator.

In between those crashes was another that personally affected some of us. Neal was one of our favorite ski bums. He never hassled us about what to open when or any of the like even though he wanted to know as badly as everyone else. He just smiled and skied with all that curly red hair poking out and bouncing all over the place.

The fall has been brighter than normal, if this place has a normal. People say we earned it cuz of the summer we put up with. That may or may not be. One fascinating thing about this beautiful fall is that it’s created by the same weather pattern we complain about mid-winter. The good ol’ Omega-block high pressure doing what it does best, kicking the clouds away. Perspective.

The people that keep the mountain humming trickle into town. There are a few year-rounders but most of us have other gigs in the off-season. Fish and raft guides, boat captains, and fashion models will soon don winter gear and do their parts to get the bullwheel turning.

Each year about this time we need to open up the winter file, you know the one where you keep the info about all the people you see up on the hill in ski gear. We categorize them by shell color and ski style, when we run into them at the grocery store we have no idea whothesamhell they are, but we know we should.

So now it all begins, the wait. Snow dreams grow under our pillows and torment us. Sure there’s skiing to be had but only the zealots (saw one yesterday hiking up to Byron Glacier) will work for those turns.

Instead we hike, bike, or run to get our legs under us and our lungs in front of us. We attend snow geek conferences, check and recheck our weather sites, we head Outside to surf, kiteboard, or soak up some extra sun while we can. We wait cuz that’s all we can do. Luckily, our half of the earth is tilting away from the sun. There’s no denying it, winter comes.

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