Way up here, I’ve been so down.
The dark, the cold, I feel like I’m trapped in a tupperware in someone’s long unopened fridge. Except we’re more than eighty degrees colder than any fridge. It’s just too much.
The kids were sick, then our car’s block heater (a device used by people who live too far north that plugs into an outlet and keeps your engine from freezing solid) committed suicide and convinced the power steering hose to drink some of the kool aid too. Then, we had healthy kids and a functioning car and the kids got sick again. Now, we’re recovering, and the car is working, but the temperature? -51*F. I can’t take the kids out in that. Where would we go anyway? It’s cold enough that even WalMart had to close (burst steam pipe).
I am not Alaskan. I love a snow day and an excuse to sip hot chocolate and watch old movies as much as the next person, but this is insane.
Still, no external forces should be able to command my heart so thoroughly. Why would I let something as mundane as the weather make my days so dreary? There are things I can do. Things that renew my sense of self and things that revive my spirit. Things that bring me a little farther from the earth up here and a little closer to the world I’m sure is still out there somewhere.
Tomorrow I’ll start a schedule. We don’t have light in the mornings (yet) but I can still exercise. I can still give my body some marker that suggests life. The sicknesses gave me an excuse to sleep in and try to recover the sleep lost to mid-night nursings. That should be reversed. I can nap if necessary, but sleeping in is rarely the answer any more. (welcome to motherhood)
Getting dressed in the morning will help too. Doing something with my hair. Putting on make-up. Tricks to signal to my long-dormant brain that there is life outside this house. When I first moved up here everyone told me about how precious “getting out” is. How it’s the only way to stay sane in the winter. But where to go? And is physical safety really less important than sanity? (Why do I have to choose anyway?) I just can’t believe that little fingers are safe going outside at these temperatures.
Today, even the airport shut down. It’s too cold for airplanes to fly. Don’t airplanes fly to Antarctica?
I’m awake now because nighttime is too much work to face. Baby just doesn’t sleep lately and I don’t want to face another night of that fight. I need a night off.
And some time away.
Never again will I stay the winter in Fairbanks.