Last week in Chicago was a kind of mini-summer for me. The weather was just a bit warmer than here in Girdwood. There was much more daylight, even on cloudy days, even when I spent 9-5 in class.
But it was more than the weather. I walked about a mile each way, from the International House to the Lutheran seminary where Meadville was renting classroom space. And I spent all day long with wonderful, creative, interesting Unitarian Universalists, all of them passionate about their faith tradition.
Add all that together, and it felt a lot like the Alaskan experience of summer. Fueled by sunlight, we feel an intense surge of energy that begins building in the spring. It’s easy to get up in the morning, and hard to go to bed at night. There’s so much to do, and we feel so good.
But then August hits, and all that over-expending of energy suddenly takes its toll. It’s still light out early in the morning, and late into the evening, but we find ourselves dragging, exhausted by light-induced activity.
August hit at about 4 p.m. last Friday. Suddenly, as if someone had pulled the plug in a bathtub, I could feel the exuberance draining from me. I’m glad I recognized it for what it was.
Friday also happened to be my 40th birthday, and my gift to my introverted but sunlight-addled self was a quiet evening alone. I bought a Napoli sub and a strawberry cheesecake from Medici’s, and walked quietly, slowly back to my dorm room. My partner’s mom called, and then my parents called. I packed my suitcase. Watched some Netflix on my iPod. Went to bed. Got up at 4:45 a.m. the next morning for the long trip home to Anchorage.
What a difference a week makes. We’ve had rain here in Girdwood for the past three days, and today the mountain at the Alyeska ski resort is closed due to high winds and rain-induced instability. The residents of Chicago are hunkered down, waiting out a blizzard.
Stay safe, everyone, wherever you are.