Life and Travel

Waking up in a Winter Wonderland

 

This post is late. Very late, but so was the snow… so it’s not my fault, right? I arrived in Alaska weeks ago, but the snow hadn’t. The cold was present, however. The nose-hair-freezing cold was alive and well, and putting a dangerous sheet of ice on every road. It was all the negatives of winter, but with none of the sparkling, frosty beauty. It was also too early on in the season to start Christmas celebrations upon my arrival, so it was just cold. Dark, and cold. And it would have been a miserable if it wasn’t for the fact that I got married. But that is for another post!

Time went by after I got here; I settled into my new apartment, and started getting used to a new last name. Then Thanksgiving rolled around, and it was exciting simply because of the fact that once the holiday was over, I’d be allowed to start Christmas-ing. Myles, my husband, is not a humbug or a grinch, but he wasn’t about to begin festivities early. It’s probably due to childhood resentment of his birthday (the last day of November) becoming overshadowed by all the Christmas cheer.  I’ll admit I wasn’t really feeling the spirit of it either since my surroundings were void of snow. But then a miracle happened. A true Christmas miracle. On the eve of December 1st, the night before we were to take our wedding photos (which I’d been picturing in a mystical, white-blanketed landscape), snow fell. It snowed all through the night and most of the next day. I’ve never felt so welcomed into December. I could almost picture Mother Nature smirking, knowing she’d been holding out on us until the right moment. The wedding photos all went well, and the editing on them is almost finished (look out for the post later!), but braving the snow for one day just wasn’t enough for me I suppose. I dragged Myles out into the snow with me the next day for a few pictures of our neighboring forest (and also a few pictures of him, because I think he’s quite handsome.)

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Also, when I say neighboring forest, I’m not joking around. In Alaska, you’re never far from trees and that’s one of it’s best perks. We, however, are very, very close to trees. This little trail is right across the street from our apartment complex. It took less than two minutes to get from our front door to the spot pictured below. That’s something I rather enjoy.

The oh-so-close woods are undoubtedly magical. As a firm believer in magic, I’m not about to deny that, but our location doesn’t come without its dangers. Our upstairs neighbors were quick to warn us about bears as we were moving in… I guess they could tell we weren’t Alaskans and felt the need to fill us in. Maybe it’s the way we dress? Beats me. Anyway, apparently it’s common for bears to walk around right outside our front door. I suppose that’s the reason why Alaskan’s are so fond of their guns, and I don’t blame them.

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Despite the bears, the moose, and even the possibility of dangerous people lurking so close by in the trees, I find it beautiful and I count myself lucky. I was warned by multiple people that Anchorage is a dangerous city before I moved here, even by some who’d never been here. It is true that this city has its vices. The crime rate is high for its population, and it’s no secret that alcohol is a popular solution for the winter blues–all of this aside from the natural dangers. But I don’t believe there is any perfect place, or any truly safe place on this earth, unfortunately. That may sound like a rightly negative statement, but it isn’t meant to be that way. Knowing that there is no perfect place to be inspires me to find the beauty of where I am. It inspires me to be brave. I take necessary precautions, of course. But I still go out. I still go take pictures of the trees. I still explore my city. I still walk about in nature. Because of the fact that I know danger will always be out there, I refuse to let it keep me from living my life. Sometimes the good things are hard to find, but I think they’re worth finding. In cities, in stories, in people, in everything.

So, folks, to end my ramblings, I’ll just say that today is a beautiful day. No matter where you are, there is joy and beauty to be found if you’re brave enough to look for it. You don’t need to wait for snow or even have a handsome fella with you. You just have to look around with your eyes wide open, and it’ll be there.

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