I had a day off (except for rounding on one patient). My hospice patient died last night, which is merciful for her. Fittingly I just found the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, a beautiful look at the natural acceptance of the whole circle of life, which is healing. I discharged my other patient, and then I got to go home and do some art therapy!
It was raining heavy this morning, and so cozy! I was planning to go to the DMV to get my driver’s license (so I can become a state resident and receive the Alaska Permanent fund dividend$!), but found out that today is the one day of the week that it is closed. So, I cooked a yummy, warming pasta with tomato sauce, using the rest of my going-bad veggies. DMV tomorrow.
All the kids love to play in the rain and snow-melt mud puddles here. Often the puddles are deeper than their wellies (muck boots), so their feet must be sloshing around in freezing water!
The rain and the weather moving in made the temperatures a lot colder today–in the 40s, and as if to emphasize that, I saw these guys going South:
Thinking of the cold approaching, I am in awe of the ramshackled, tin shed, weathered wood buildings around town. I know these are normal in places in the south, but in the frozen tundra, just down under the Arctic Circle with bitter, bitter cold?!?!! What really amazes me is all of the tents in the old pictures from the 1900 gold rush. “Nome, Alaska July 1900” Image Archives, Alaska State Library Photos
I cannot even begin to fathom living in a tent here! People are tough up this way. Today while I was bundled up, I crossed paths with many people in t-shirts and shorts….this does not bode well, I’m afraid.
My friends Phil and Sarah told me that the best way to acclimatize to the winters is to just get out every day. And that sometimes Sarah even likes to go run when it’s dark and cold and the winds are howling (even into a subzero headwind), because it’s a way of embracing what is here, accepting it, and even enjoying it. She did that especially while Phil was kayaking (for a charity cause) from Nome up north to Barrow, deep into the Arctic Circle…at the top of Alaska. It blows my mind. Check out their awesome blog~ Nome Misadventures. I like their advice. It’s applicable for anywhere, really. We will see how it goes…
I walked down by the sea with a chilling wind, but the sun came out, and the Norton Sound was as gorgeous as ever. And then I walked to the grocery/trade store to get a couple of items. The prices still take me by surprise (see post about cost of groceries in Nome). I also bought a bottle of wine—what I normally pay $10 for, was $22 here!!!
It was another beautiful day today! I slept in, had instant coffee to wake up. This afternoon I went with my neighbors (the other new doctor’s family) to the beach!
We drove down the road and had a lovely time wading in the water in our wellies, picking up pretty pebbles and seaglass, admiring the sparkling gold flakes in the sand–yes! there is a lot of gold here! But apparently it’s too small to be able to collect. Also, I learned that there is currently a gold rush going on in Nome. Since the price of gold has gone back up, there are a lot of people coming to Nome to try to strike it rich! How wild is that? It’s also wild to think that at one point Nome was the biggest city in Alaska! When I look around at the wild, rugged landscape of mountains and tundra now dressed in fall colors, I can’t really imagine it being so densely populated.
We then drove out to the outskirts of town to drop off their dog at the kennel is staying. The kennel keeps mushing (the proper term for dogsledding, that I just learned) dogs, and the people that own it are very down to earth and super cool! It was heaps of fun talking with them, as Susan, the owner of the kennel was an RN for 30 years, worked in Denver in the ICU (just like my sister) and she moved to Alaska for mushing. Her husband was a corps man in the Navy, worked with the USMC recon soldiers (like my brother!). They were so warm and welcoming! They told stories of the bears that roam around their property and the salmon that swim up the stream by their house. Their house and property is simply beautiful and full of delightful charm. The yard has a lovely garden decorated with rocks, an old spool, driftwood, birdhouses and a variety of reused things, and they have a bathhouse out in their yard with a sauna. Their house is so quaintly adorned with things from nature, like an antler chandelier, vines, old pictures, pieces of old weathered wood,
and so many other beautiful, rustic decorations. They live so simply, and yet so richly connected to nature, to each other to the community.
After we left, we drove through the tundra on the rolling hills, now alive in orange, reds and greens. I must come back to pick berries and stay longer ~this place is deliciously gorgeous!
Before I start working at the clinic and hospital, I have some time to wander about and explore.
Directions for how to get out of Nome (Ack! :))
Bright blue, happy shedEvery house has a mudroom here attached to the entrance, where you take off your muddy boots! It’s essential to keeping a clean home.Rusty corrugated tin houseSo quaint!
I love the quirks of small towns.
Yay for living by the sea! (even if it is frozen 10 months of the year!)The Norton Sound on the Bering Sea
Coolest camper ever!