Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not even the cold would keep us inside

Late nights in Alaska in the winter can be cold. Bone-chilling cold. so cold that neither you, nor Father Winter want to go outside. The only ones stupid enough to take on the cold are teenagers.

Teenagers in Alaska are the epitome of … well … dumb. The wear light coats, because the bulky warm ones aren't cool; jeans because who wears snow pants to school; sneakers because boots just don't match the jeans; no hat because they can't mess up their hair; no gloves because, if they were like me, they can't hold their cigarette. Like I said, dumb.

There was one winter night wear my friend Mike Eagan, my brother Benjamin and I decided the weather was just perfect for checking out the stars. This of course meant we were going to sneak out my bedroom window and on to the roof so we could smoke without being caught by our parents.

If memory serves, the distance from the edge of my window to the end of the roof was maybes 36 inchs. Still, even with snow packed high and ice covering every inch of our exit route, we wiggled our way outside.

The window in the room shared by my brother and I was a dormer. Meaning, it sat up above the slanted roof of our house. This provided us with a place to put a blanket to sit on so our arses weren't nestled in the snow.

We laid outside in the cold for quite a while. We each had a pack of smokes and all the time in the world.

There is something about an Alaskan night that, even now, can put a smile on your face. The stars are bright and clear in the cold air, the Northern Lights act as an active paint brush as they dance across the sky. It's peaceful, albeit cold.

Sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I think to myself, how in the hell could anyone survive that. Especially now as my age keeps closer and closer to 40 and warming up seems to take a whole lot longer.

Still, there are days when I leave the house in the morning and the cold air smell hits me just right and I am pulled through time to those winter nights in the Land of the Midnight Sun.