I’m back in Juneau and having some breakfast at SilverBow bakery. Although I enjoyed my visit to Anchorage this week (complete with the best airport experience I’ve ever had), I’m glad to be back in Juneau. My first sight this morning was a tall snow-covered mountain, illuminated by blinding sunlight, peeking out of an otherwise fog-choked sky. And the ravens tailed me when I walked from my car to the bakery.
I’m here soaking in a quiet morning while drinking some tea and eating cinnamon-raisin toast (with a side of bacon). I’m beside a window with bird spikes on the outside ledge. But if I peek over the ledge a bit, I can see a crowd of pigeons nodding and dancing on the ground below.
A couple people behind me are talking and I’m trying not to listen. Actually, I’m trying not to look like I’m listening. I’ve had their discussion a lot. Juneau is a small town, and has its problems, but a big reason people don’t want to live here is the weather. While it’s true it rains a lot, and rarely is the ground actually dry, even when it’s not raining – the beauty of this place far outweighs the downfalls of the weather. And when it is actually sunny, all those days of tired, grey skies give way to moments of pure euphoria.
The guy behind me also mentions how close we are to the wilderness here. Take a few steps off the road, and I’m in the thick of the woods. It’s enchanting and yet, intimidating. “You’re on the edge of everything,” he says.
I stayed with a friend of a friend while I was in Anchorage this week. It was about 7, so it was dark outside, and we heard something thumping against the side of the house. Someone said, “Is it the moose?” I laughed…and then got blank stares from a couple people in the room.
“I didn’t expect that to be anyone’s first response.” I said, justifying my apparently weird reaction.
“Oh, well the moose will put their noses up to the window. They walk through pretty frequently.”
The next day, walking through their yard, I saw a trail of moose prints in the fresh snow.
Sometimes I miss living in Minneapolis with the conveniences of big city life and access to a larger road system. Then I remind myself I’m living in a place that brings the sea to my door and the wilderness to my feet. And keeps those at bay who might be squeamish about Juneau’s weepy weather.