Monday, November 17, 2008

On Winter Construction

Most people have absolutely no idea what Alaska is like, let alone Talkeetna. Most people are completely awestruck by the beauty, the wildness, and the delicious fish, let alone the rugged self-sufficient people. Most people can't fathom living without running water, using an outhouse, or heating with wood, let alone not having blockbusterwalmartmcdonalds within 70 miles.

I am quite certain, given this kind of total incomprehension, that most people cannot possibly imagine who would be insane enough to build anything in the middle of an Alaska winter, let alone a fairly sizable commercial food establishment.

Snow piling up. Temperatures dropping. Darkness descending. On the other hand, think of it this way: no rain and no mosquitoes!

In my humble opinion, winter construction creates some breathtaking moments that just make you glad to be alive. Usually they involve knocking snotsicles off someone's beard or stepping inside to watch the frost melt off your eyelashes...

But sometimes the snow perches like a little hat on each anchor bolt that will soon be buried within walls instead of under several inches of fresh powdery snow. Sometimes, the view out the window that does not yet exist accentuates the way snow can blanket every branch, twig and leaf on every tree creating an infinity of depth that is at once precise yet organic, crisp yet pillowy. Sometimes, the necessity to work at 9:00 in the morning or to grab a few armloads of firewood after dinner or to plug in the block heater on the car when you wake up becomes the opportunity to absorb the darkness and look into the eternity of sky that gifts us with more twinkling stars than I have seen anywhere else in my life and moonlight you can read by.

It's not looking likely that I'll be swinging a hammer very much myself this time. But I have to be quite honest. Sometimes, I really wish I was.

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