Thursday, 25 August 2011

Happy Anniversary, 2001

Some Highway in Alaska
The sun is fully set by 9pm here. That's 21:00 for those of you functioning on a twenty-four hour clock. I'm told that it's dark by 11pm in Alaska. There's part of me that is desperate for the nights to stop drawing in. It inevitably leads to a time change. I don't cope well with the time change and think the one in the fall is particularly viscous, stealing, as it does, an hour of evening daylight.

The new neighbors had a party this weekend. Mostly, I'm grateful that this didn't involve burning the treated wood from the kitchen they've just pulled out. Mostly, I'm grateful that they're using a recycling skip rather than giving the local asthmatics a vision of what it must be like to run a marathon without an inhaler. Mostly, the smell of wood burning reminded me that autumn is well and truly on its way.

It made me want to reach for an ax and build a wood pile. Our house is heated with gas. There is no need for a wood pile. Though one of our neighbors heats with wood, and I'm fairly certain isn't terribly good with wielding an ax. I'm inclined toward pulling out my thermals and washing the winter coat. But I no longer live in a place where any of this is necessary before the end of September. I wonder, when I leave this place, what olfactory memories will drive sudden and senseless behavior.

As for the bread, I swear it came out of the oven smelling like acetone. The housemate insists otherwise.The starter smelled of beer, like it should. I suspect that I am now imagining odors that do not exist. Perhaps tomorrow it will be nasturtiums and golden honey. Either way, I'll be eating rye bread and butter for breakfast in the morning.

Here the job search continues. And the work I do have remains strangely fulfilling. Mostly, I look forward to kneading bread dough and the day when a day off doesn't mean the work of finding a job. I wonder what that will feel like. Will I, when the sun is set at five pm, find it easy to settle into the making of baby blankets and watching films on tv? Will I think of planning a holiday to Budapest--the holiday I've been promising to spend with a friend for three years now? Will I begin to drink tea again?

I remember a nearly perfect day in an Alaskan spring when we drove two hundred miles out of our way and walked a bit further. I know I was looking for a job then too, and we knew that our days in the far north were numbered by the the inevitability of one coming winter or another. I know that we had no idea that ten years on from the day we first met one of us would be beginning a job in Hawaii and the other would be mopping floors near a completely different ocean. Many of us have started families and seen the end of years long marriages. We are all lost in a world we didn't expect to find. Mostly we had no idea that it is possible for a decade to pass; though it has. Another decade seems near impossible.

Happy Anniversary. The view from here is not better, but it will do.

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