The mid-December day felt unsettled, like a bad mood that comes on out of nowhere. Though the sun promised to spend just under five-and-a-half hours over Anchorage, the world had gone faded grey around sunrise, just after 10 that morning, and, now, at, sunset, it was all white snow against a wall of blue-grey. The sky, the water, everything. There were no hard lines, all was muted. A permanent dusk.
“How will you handle the dark?” That’s what people wanted to know when I told them I was moving to Alaska in September. The dark the dark the dark. I wasn’t worried about the dark. I wanted the dark. I love the dark. From the time I was a kid, I’ve been the most me at night.
It was the greyed-out days that were proving my unexpected challenge. They usually came in sets, thick with cloud cover instead of the painted sky days I loved most, the days that were, I know, easiest to love, the ones that served up a sunrise and sunset within hours of each other. Two times a day, the sky would go brilliant orange or turn the world into a watercolor. And, in between, the light … the light.
There had been no orange or pale pink on this day. Standing on the bluff at Point Woronzof, overlooking Cook Inlet, the water looked as still as the sky, nothing seemed to move. The monotone landscape made it hard to focus on anything. But I stood and kept looking, hoping to grab some detail of that moment, to separate it out from the last bunch of hours. I stayed still. I stared into the blue-grey and just looked. My eyes adjusted. The lines sharpened. The water, with sheets and shards of ice floating on its surface, was flowing east toward downtown Anchorage.
The partial lie I’d been telling—that I was content here, that I wanted to stop for a while—became just that much truer.