Archive for October, 2008

September in Alaska

Posted in Alaska on October 1, 2008 by ilikemountains

More than any other place I’ve lived, Alaska reminds you that you’re a mammal. You’re forced to live with the seasons, and their dramatic pendulum. You pack weight on in the winter, and shed it in the summer. Come October, you’re craving carbs and fat and you’re sleeping more.

As far as I’m concerned, this behavior is not due to the weather so much as the daylight. It’s impossible not to feel somewhat manic when it’s light out all the time, and to feel like you’re sleepwalking when the sun barely rises.

Because my moods can be so closely tied to the time of year, I love September more than any other month. For whatever reason, it evokes the strongest emotions, even more so than a sunny day in July. September is a winding-down, preparing-for-winter month. The tourists are heading back south. We have normal daylight hours, but we know we’re swiftly losing them. It’s colder and rainier and everyone comments on how dark it is, even though the daylight disappears every year. Termination dust coats the top of the mountains. You’re able to hang out with your friends since they’re slowing down, too, and a feeling of community surfaces again. The freezer is full of fish, and the garden is ready to be turned.

And one of the best parts of September is berry picking. The act of tromping through the woods looking for plump berries awakens something primal in me. It’s as if I’ve always been a gatherer. My mind focuses, my eyes narrow, and suddenly all I see in the forest are blueberries. Then I zone out, my hands and mind working automatically to collect a winter’s supply of wild blueberries.