This morning, the sun peeked its orange and pink glow over the frozen river. These sunrises have become one of my favorite parts about living in such a secluded place. I remember one morning a couple months ago when I woke up and walked into the living room to see the entire room filled with this dusty orange light; I looked out the window and saw the sun rising atop the river like a fried egg in a skillet, the bright yellow center so wildly vivid and alive.
The neon pinks and oranges literally took my breath away that morning, so I threw on my boots, grabbed a camera and ran down to the river as fast as I could. Although pictures just can’t do this sunrise justice, I know I’ll never forget that morning and, really, I’ll never forget every beautiful sunrise that I’ve stopped to watch while I’ve been here.
Sometimes on the way home from school, Kim and I have to stop and stare at the horizon line, not even speaking, just soaking in the moment and breathing in the clean, crisp air. I stand, feet buried in the snow and breath turning into clouds before me, and I feel so close to God when I’m looking out at the snow and sky and sunrise. Maybe it’s because I’m taking the time to just be silent and to enjoy His earth. Back home, my moments like this with God come when I’m standing before a body of water. Who knows where I’ll find new sunrise moments in the future… but the good news is there’s a new sunrise every morning, whether it’s an actual sunrise or any other kind of beautiful moment that captures my attention and renders me silent.
I love standing on the edges of the village and looking out at the miles and miles of snow and sky. Almost every time I walk to the store alone, I find my way to the edge of the village and stare out at the piles and miles of snow, imagining the times before snow machines and airplanes.
The Natives had to travel this land on foot—across frozen lakes and rivers, through giant snow holes, and in the deadly cold. They had to hunt for any food they ate, and they had to make their own winter clothing. The strength and determination that these people had to have is just unfathomable. A few weeks ago I read the book Two Old Women, written by a Native about the Athabaskan people in the Yukon area in Alaska. The author Velma Wallis retells a story that’s been passed down from generation to generation of two elderly women in the Gwich’in tribe who survive a harsh winter alone. They’d been abandoned by their tribe because they had become too needy. The perseverance that these two old ladies find deep within themselves to live—to build their own shelter, to hunt for their own food, to make their own clothes—is such an inspiring story. If you’ve never heard of this book before and especially if you don’t know much about the different Native Alaskan ways of life, I highly suggest this book as a good place to start.
Or you could move to the Bush. 🙂