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Now that was a slog! After a record snowfall on “The Rock”, rain, more snow, rain, snow and “more to come” (according to a local radio station), I am beginning to develop a certain expertise for “The Slog.” Each day, I walk to work in the rain; snow, blizzard, flood and I have come to know this daily exercise as slogging. This is the ultimate treadmill. I cannot get off of it. The sport of slogging usually involves slipping or falling and the most ungraceful setting upright again, all in public and plain view. Once I had to jump over a chunky snow berm to escape a speeding snowplow. The move entailed hanging onto a stop sign that wagged in the wind through near whiteout conditions. Olympics next? I did notice that the local mountain sports shop sells skateboards, snowboards, surfboards, bicycles and outdoor clothing. No slogging equipment is listed.
Though the daily distance is not remarkable (about 3 miles), the experiences are. Daily the birds flit about whistling and chit around my head. I pass small waterfalls. Moss grows like bad toupees on the tops of mailbox posts. I have found fossils that crumble down the bank to land at my feet. Bald Eagles circle overhead squeaking or fleeing a small gang of crows. A pair of deer lives in the brush along the walk and periodically we stop to watch one another. What goes in the minds of those sloe-eyed darlin’s?
Today’s slog was particularly characteristic of the sport. Marching through puddles looking more like a melted snow cone, my boots sounded like the hooves of an old mare clopping through the mud. Okay, no funny comments. It was recommended I not walk. I was told, “Not unless you have chest waders.” “It’s crazy.” The kind people of Kodiak offered me no fewer than four rides.
Actually, It turned out to be a good walk. This is where I sign up to endorse The Muck Company footwear, Stablicers and a pair of North Face guide pants. Walking through water to near my knees, wet snow to my hips, hidden hazards of clear ice, hidden pools that trap and pull one down into deep mush or a hidden storm drain, splashes from passing vehicles, rain and snow falling down around me, I stayed warm, dry and comfortable.
Today’s walk home, I remembered to stomp footholds into the five-foot berms left by the well-intentioned snowplows. Tonight the wet stuff may freeze to epoxy hardness and come morning I will be wishing for either some way over the tops or an ice ax.
Moreover, as is Jennifer’s style, now comes the twist at the end. For those of you who may fret about the pedestrian sprayed with mud as they pass, for those of you who worry I will be struck and killed or maimed, for those kind and generous folk who stopp and offer a ride, for those of you who think I’m something a bit missing a bolt, consider the following. Each morning as I walk this route in the pre-sunrise dark, children and teenagers surroung me as they walk to school wearing nothing for outer gear but a pair of loosened tennis shoes and an unzipped, wet, cotton hoodie .
Stay warm, stay dry, and stay safer than I do. And as for the kids…
That is all for today’s Daily Slog.
Jennifer and the small (but dry footed) Arctic Chihuahua
“And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And God called the firmament Heaven.” Genesis I:6-7
We in The Arctic Chihuahua family offer our hearts and prayers for all of those affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike: residents of Galveston, Houston and every small and large community we do not hear about in the news, each family, each person, each animal, responders and volunteers who are giving of themselves, responder families who provide support behind the scenes…to the families who have lost loved ones.
For our readers: As your Prayers, Hearts and Well Wishing pour out, please do not forget that help comes in many forms: food, water, shelter, a safe place, medical care, a caring ear…
Here are some links to those who are there to help with those basic needs thanks to your donations:
Gidget and I, as is sometimes the case, take a jaunt down to the shore to meander among the pebbles and driftwood. We step gingerly over the occasional jellyfish washed to shore and I collect interesting stones.
This morning as we approached the water, I could see the surface was already smooth and mirror like. The Kotzebue Sound becomes very still just before a freeze. This morning it is not at all about to freeze. Though just a few short days ago the biting air told us it was trying or wanting to snow, today it is almost barefoot weather, with slight breeze to the skin. These are indeed the last days of summer.
Soaking it in, my sleeves rolled up on this no-jacket-kinda-morning, Gidget and I listened as the water lapped quietly. Herring jumped and flowed with the current, slapping and flashing a fin or two. At times, a cluster of herring hit the surface frenetically and as a group splashed and shimmered like a silvery puddle in heavy rain.
Further off, a seal or two, or five or six could be spotted, their dark conical heads riding smoothly just above the waters surface. The seals are beginning to migrate south for the winter. Some signal up north, the chill or the movement of the fish, whispers to the seals…”it’s time to be heading off.”
And so it is…
Cheerios and Love Life!
Jennifer and the Arctic Chihuahua