On Not Stopping

Friday’s snow had that magical, slow, fat feel to it. Winter wonderland, powdered sugar stuff, and it was still warm enough to enjoy walking home from campus in just a fleece. There were a few golden leaves still clinging to the birches, and the Christmas-red bunchberries were still poking up through the snow on the ground. White and red and gold and sublime. I love that three mile walk through the woods.

And the snow kept coming. Alan came over on Saturday to help me wrap up some fall chores and had to stop to help someone out of a ditch just up the road from my place. Inexplicable ditch people are common this time of year. Been there myself once or twice. Here’s the story of this one as best I can tell it:

Alan and the driver pushed and dug and boosted, trying to get the car out of the ditch. While they worked, another truck came up alongside. This truck was creeping really slowly, checking them out and looking like it was about to stop, so Alan took a breather and waited, thinking more help was on the way. As the truck passed, moving at a snail’s pace, the driver rolled the window down. “I’m not stopping,” he said to Alan.
Why are you telling me this? Alan thought, sweating and puffing a little from exertion, if you don’t want to help you can just go on by. Then his eyes snagged on the wheels, all locked up: the driver meant to stop, but he couldn’t. The truck was just slow-gliding through the slush at a crawl.

I’m not stopping.
I like it. As a metaphor, it works. Brakes or no brakes, the truck just slides by. The inexorable in scene.
“I’m not stopping,” delivered matter-of-fact.
I thought the first snow would melt off and leave us another few days of fall, but it didn’t. Winter’s not stopping; no sense getting worked up about it. I won’t get cranberries this year; so what? I’m not stopping, I’ll just get them when another September comes sliding by.

In the meantime, this place is a confection of red berries, golden leaves and sugar-white snow and I am reminded to savor the sweetness while it lasts.

First Snow 2021

I’m sitting on the 2nd floor of the Margaret Murie building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks watching the first snow fall on the green lawns of west ridge. I’m trying to develop a routine of writing here every Monday and Wednesday morning this year. So far I’m having mixed results – the last two weeks have been wild and fun, but not productive writing-wise.

I like the space though–on a clear day I can see all the way to the Alaska Range–and I like the idea of a routine. Maybe it’ll settle on me as the fall wears on.

Today’s project was finishing some copyedits and minor revisions for a forthcoming publication. It feels weird to write that, but I have to say I like it.

Snow Day

The plastic blew off of our garden in the night. Poor baby greens are under an inch of ice. Goodbye, spring salad.


As predicted, the daffodils were hit hard by the ice storm. They’re beautiful as they are now, a lesson in impermanence and a study in fragility.

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We went for a hike in the woods this morning.  Our house was cold, and we knew we’d have to leave the country until our power is back on, so we decided to take advantage of the day off and spend some time out in the woods. We don’t get to enjoy our back yard often, and during the last ice storm, we had to settle for driving through the sparkling forest on our way to and from school. It was painful, spending our days indoors and watching the sun set behind the frozen tree sculptures all week. By Saturday, the ice was gone.
Sean and I bundled up in long underwear and layers of sweaters and jackets. I put on two pairs of socks to wear under my sneakers. We don’t really have winter attire here in Arkansas.


The yellow dock leaves were frozen so solid that when we kicked them, they shattered. The ice in the trees tinkled like crystal.



The grass was frozen solid, and the hill was slick. There was a huge part of me that didn’t believe that we’d actually get the sleds to move. I sat on a saucer, not expecting much, and then suddenly I was bumping down the hill, crackling the ice and shredding my gloves on the frozen grass.


We took our daffodils to town with us to remind everyone that it is, in fact, springtime.