Dec. 13, 2018

Winter troubles

7 a.m. It's dark outside. The kerosene lantern flickers and makes a soft popping sound. It swings gently in my hand as I trudge down the shoveled path thru deep snow to the outhouse.

The lack of sun to power the solar light in the outhouse has made it necessary to tote along a lantern. I discovered this last night at 3 a.m. with an inadvertent blind outhouse run. Normally you pull the cord in the outhouse and the solar light pops on. This early morning run it did not.

There's also been a wolf skulking around. Even though it's only 100 feet to the outhouse, one can't help but try to see glowing yellow eyes glaring thru the brush at the edge of the forest. A primal urge, alerting you that danger lurked nearby. You can't help it. It's there, deep in your brain. But your need to use the outhouse overpowers dark fear and you walk on, maybe a bit quicker.

Our dog rarely barks. She was out last night and suddenly broke into a crazy barking frenzy. I'd guess there was a predator nearby but we didn't see anything. Word around the area is a lone wolf is nearby. He's been seen on the river and at the airstrip, both of which aren't far from our place.

I tell myself I have no fear of wolves. I don't think I do. But running into one in the dark, on my way to the outhouse already, I think I'd probably pee myself.

The lantern cuts thru the darkness. The outhouse is straight ahead.

Temps have dropped back to zero. We keep the woodstove going all the time. My trip to the outhouse is quick. It's cold outside! I see the warm glow from the Christmas lights inside as I walk back to the house.

3 of my 5 kids will be home for Christmas this year. That thought makes me smile and warms my insides. Not so cold out when I think of that. I step inside, douse the lantern and hear the pile of puppies yowling. They are trying to howl. It's cute. The fire is crackling. Coffee is brewing and the aroma fills the room. Nate is sitting on the couch, sleepy but awake.

"Why the lantern?" He asks.

"Solar light isn't working." I reply.

Life in remote Alaska seems to always be throwing something at you. Isn't it just so romantic?!