In response to yesterdays picture post, Brooke asked what life at forty below is like. I can't speak for everyone, but I can sure ramble off a list of what it's like to me. This is my seventh Fairbanks winter and the coldest temperature I've experienced is 55-ish below. It was when I lived in North Pole, go figure.
Our front door last winter
Living alongside an extreme climate opens your eyes and burns your face with new experiences. Here are some highlights:
Ice Fog. A disorienting, glittery mess to drive in. Luckily, I live on a hill and regularly celebrate inversion and no fog.
Outside sounds become dramatic and appear closer than they are. For example. When standing outside, the traffic that I normally wouldn't hear becomes heard. Like coming down your driveway heard.
You wake up to square tires.
You are a slave to plugging in your vehicle and warming engines. There are no fast get aways here.
Your world becomes adorned with frost.
Weekly chores, like getting water and hauling trash, require full winter gear. Hats, gloves, long johns, bunny boots, and a good attitude. I mean, you did just pull yourself out of bed and a warm home to tackle the to do. Bonus points for doing so in wicked cold.
Nightly dinners feature butter and bread. You crave pasta, potatoes, casseroles, any comfort food. It isn't unusual to go on a baked goods bender or find yourself drinking lattes late in the day.
The workout and sauna become prozac and a spa treatment.
You learn that hand salve is your friend. No one likes cracked finger tips. Ouch!
* * *That's the short of it anyway. It's pretty surreal. Sometimes I feel like I live in another world. I like to say Alaska might as well be America's Europe. Often when Alaskans refer to the rest of the states, we say "outside" or "lower 48." When I lived in Texas and Arizona, Alaska's weather is rarely included with US televised weather reports. If it is, it's bottom left hand and rarely gets a peep.
I'd love to hear what your winters are like. Anyone else out there want to chime in?