It was a relief to return home. It was dark when we landed (10 pm, though it would have been dark any time after 4 pm anyway), so no chances of watching the tundra appear. The flight was uneventful, and I had to grin when the pilot announced the local temp as 32 below zero. I know most people don't understand finding joy in that, but after such a long week in Seattle, I was ready for anything that resembled home.
J and Beans collected us at baggage claim. J collected luggage (commenting that we were certainly returning with more than we left with- I waited to tell him that the extra weight was mostly yarn *snort*). Beans and Little Nugget and I had a reunion of sorts, which mostly involved lots of hugs and kisses, and visiting the stuffed grizzly bear in the baggage claim area.
We exited the airport into the cold dark air. My first few gulps of air left me coughing- a common occurrence when you forget how to breath in 30 below temps.
For those of you chuckling (or for dad, who always figured I would forget how to breathe), this is not a joke. In subzero temps, gulps of air are downright painful. The cold air mixes with the humidity from your breath and freezes on it's way down. Nose hairs prickle and freeze rapidly, leaving frozen boogers in it's wake. The body's reflexes (coughing) try to kick out this cold air. In spite of the pain of breathing in this cold air (it really does feel like you might suffocate), I had to grin and try sucking in another deep breath.
The rest of the night was uneventful. With doctor appointments in Fairbanks lined up for the following day, we retired to a hotel room.
The next morning, I amused myself by peeking out at the dark morning sky. Funny how a week away from home can make you a tourist in your own town again. I peeked out the window of the hotel until after 10 am, when the sun began to come up in earnest. I stared in amazement and wonder at the hoar frost and the ice fog, a combination of awe and homey comfort washing over me. As we started south toward home as the 3 pm sun began to set, it was then I realized that I had been quite homesick for Alaska, and was happy to be back on the Tundra.
*Little Nugget Update: We didn't get very good news. She's still not gaining weight. More tests to be lined up and I'm sure, a long road ahead of us. That's all the detail I care to get into today, so just keep us in your prayers and good thoughts.*
The drive home was more beautiful than I remembered. Sometimes when you get to love something every day, you forget to see how beautiful it always is. The cold was colder. The vastness more vast.
The cabin was as perfect as ever. Snow covered roof, fox foot-printed yard, smoke rising from the stovepipe, and a warm handmade quilt from my mom to snuggle under, where I finally stopped being Alaska Tough, and gave myself permission to be a worried mom.
It's good to be home.
Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails