The season of fall(ing)

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010

Although the four seasons are known to others as spring, summer, fall and winter, my own Juneau seasons are "soggy," "sailing," "falling," and "when Eaglecrest is open."

Falling (which some years extends into when Eaglecrest is open) I have so named because that's what I do come September. I fall. I have no idea why. It's certainly not because there's more rain to confuse my feet, nor because we suddenly have cloud cover obscuring the line between curb and street. Honestly, rain is comfort weather for a Juneauite and I'm sure the eyes of Southeast Alaskans have evolved to see contrast where others see shades of grey (insert your own witty comment about Juneau's Democrats and Republicans here). But down I go; twisting an ankle, stubbing a toe, tripping on my own feet with a graceful flourish.

It might be that I'm worn out after sailing season (navigating the Inside Passage by wind-power is darn tiring, as is navigating downtown Juneau after the ships sail in) or that I'm calorie deprived after growing my own salad greens. Either way, come September, my body tells me I need to sit down, bring my world closer to home, my awake hours back to 16 and get ready for winter. Which really is the purpose of pretending we have fall in Juneau: recuperate from summer and prepare for winter.

In my home, we're typically in denial about the approach of winter, until we forget to prepare for it at all. We'll find ourselves buried under the first hefty snowfall with a broken snow shovel, ski boots that are too small for the kids and no wood for the stove. We've thrown money at these problems: buying the last, priced-like-gold shovel, ordering brand new boots and resigning ourselves to paying an extra $1,000 for electric heat for the winter.

"Ah well," we say. "It's the cost of living in Juneau."

But now that we're living off one income (which I highly recommend, regardless of how many incomes are coming in, but that's a soap box topic for another day), there is no extra $1000 unless we break out the evil, life-sucking credit cards.

With limited funds, preparing for winter has an added importance for us this year. You can bet we'll make sure the wood pile is tall. And though I aspire to canning my harvest someday, "putting food by" still means shopping sales and finding bulk deals at Costco. But, it's better than putting no food by at all. Filling the pantry in the fall means cheaper food, less shopping and less winter driving.

So, if I can keep my summer energy for a few more weeks, and manage to stay on my feet and off my tail bone, I hope to be ready for "when Eaglecrest is open" and not spend it sitting in the lodge with a cup of tea and a good book (oops, that sounds darn good. Maybe a minor knee twist in January?).

• Sarah Lewis is a local architect and social worker who loves to make lists just to check things off and feel she's accomplished something ... and she hopes that every once in a while she really does.

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