I like all the seasons and can't really decide which I like best. How does one choose when winter=snow, spring=flowers, summer=fun, autumn=leaves ? I love whichever I'm in but, equally, get excited about the next. The same goes for the Colorado and Alaska seasons. Colorado means family, friends, my local coffee shop, our neighborhood park, standing dinner dates, church family, and fresh flowers from the grocery store... in fact anything fresh from the grocery store almost as soon as I could imagine wanting it. Alaska means slower life pace, being outdoors, opportunity to know a small set of people more deeply, almost eternal sunlight, time as a family of three (plus "Eddie the Adventure Dog"), adventures without seeking them out, anticipation of grocery day (lusting after fresh groceries for days before they arrive), and doing the most fun jobs we could've dreamed up. They're both great and we're happy wherever we are. As Brian Regan says, ""Grape! I'm gonna get grape, or cherry. They're both favorites, so either one is good, but if they have both, I'll get grape, because grape is a little more favorite. But if they don't have grape it's like 'alright it's fine, cause cherry's favorite anyway.'" One of its biggest appeals is the opportunity to reset that we have three times annually. It's hard not to consider, January 1st, what I might select as a New Year's Resolution, if I were the "resolutionary" type. I get this again around May 20th as we head toward McCarthy, Alaska and again the days leading up to October 1st when we return to our Colorado home. These three dates are natural opportunities to assess habits and determine how I might live more intentionally.
Every time we come and go, we're reminded how great our friends are. Starting around April, our calendar gets full of dinners with friends who say, "we need to see you again before you leave." It's nice. When we arrive in McCarthy, it's the back-at-summer-camp feel when you're catching up with all your buddies you haven't seen in eight months. Dinners with pals last until late late evening because we all forget (or just don't mind) that the sun doesn't go down till midnight. As summer draws to a close, there's a scramble to meet up with so-and-so one last time before they leave town and before we know it, we're leaving too. Once back down South, we're greeted with hugs and dinner engagements all over again.
We follow the sun. Colorado is known for 300+ days of sunshine annually. This plus its dry climate means winters are awesome (whether you ski or not); much better (in my biased, unexperienced opinion) for us than a dark and cold winter in Alaska. Conversely, summers up North give temps at 40-80 degrees and are coupled with 20+ hours of sunlight daily. We stay not-too-warm in the summers and not-too-cold in the winters.
There's lots to love about this lifestyle but it's not all coconut cream pie. Sometimes we miss the birth of a niece. Or a sister's graduation. Or a friend's wedding. Or an uncle's death. Sometimes we (or "I" - Austin doesn't have much trouble with this one) feel forgotten by whomever lives in the other state. But then we remember that we chose this lifestyle. We like the "soulrest" and family-of-three space we get in McCarthy and the time with our families that comes with living in Colorado in the 8 month "off-season". I'm excited for Linde Girl to learn to live in a neighborhood and off-the-grid, to live with easy access to anything she needs and also to wait and make due with what she has, to live in a large community in which she's less known and within a small town where her words and actions are known to all.
I hope this lasts for a long, long time.