Winter

I feel very melodramatic right now. I suppose I wouldn't look too bad saying this to most people in the world as long as they didn't know much about Ketchikan compared to the rest of this state, but certainly all you northern Alaskans will laugh me off the internet for this. I'm cold. As winter has really set in here now I've been coming to hate it more than I ever remembered. I feel like I matured so much late this last summer - both personally and in my connection to this place I call home. Now that we've long left that time of comparatively less rain and long long evenings, maybe I really wasn't prepared for what winter would bring. Before I remember marveling and laughing at the darkness; now I despise its dominance. Before I remember feeling exhilarated by the cold clear air that overwhelms you here; now I only shiver. Am I getting old? Hopefully I'll become one with it all again soon. One thing about Ketchikan is how homogeneous its atmospheric trends are. The vast majority of the time the weather is overcast, temperately temperatured, and wet. The ferocity of the rain varies and temperatures range in the 40's through 60's (farenheit), but it's pretty much that formula forever and eternity in this place. The radical temperatures only come when the sky is clear, which happens for long periods of time only during a select few weeks in the summer and winter. Then things can get as high as the 70's and as low as the 30's - but not for long. This is the irony if you want snow - it's only consistently below freezing when there's no precipitation. The only snow we get comes at the transitions between times of cold clearness and overcast, slightly warmer winter weather. There was a rumor it might snow tomorrow, but it seems unlikely now that will happen. Of course, the cold found in Alaska's southernmost city is nothing compared to that even in the capital, let alone the main body (perhaps the "pan") of the state. I'll be going to Juneau tomorrow for academic decathlon and won't be surprised by foot upon foot of snow there; that's what there's been each time I've gone there in the last three years for this meet. Hopefully though I will not be housed in the Mendenhall Valley as I have the other three times. Once we were seriously snowed in and it was questionable whether we'd make the flight out. When my brother and I went to Juneau more than a month ago for debate we were housed in Douglass, which was quite the experience since it was incredibly close to the high school. Regardless, I expect to do pretty well personally and as a team in the events. The key will be to measure ourselves not against the other competitors but rather a higher standard. (I don't want to be cocky but I don't think the other teams in southeast will be competitive enough for us.) Maybe going to snowed-in Juneau will make me more comfortable with clear and brisk Ketchikan. Maybe it's not even the winter that's getting to me, but rather all the things I know I should be doing regarding the institution of higher education I'll be at a year from now. In the end I know I will overcome, whether it be deadlines or the cold. (Image: a road on Prince of Wales Island)

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