I am weathered in Hooper Bay, a long way from my lake. No planes have come through for two days, first stopped first by ice, then fog, then wind, and now a bit of it all, blowing up a white-out so the eye doctor that planned to snow machine to Chevak is still here thanks to the good judgement of his ride. I’ll cook my dinner of macaroni and sausage in the staff lounge and chat with the janitors, while the wind howls out of the north, scattering the snow that tries for the ground.
The winter, late in coming, is finally laying ahold of this land, hardening the ground with frost, building drifts with the tussocks of basket grass, and layering ice upon ice. Out on the Bering Sea, the bergs drift like abandoned boats and the open boats are abandoned on the shore lying askew like slabs of ice left by the tide. Soon this delta will be a great white expanse of frozen desert stretching from the Sea to the frozen Kuskokwim River where the dog mushers are racing 300 miles on a trail of ice scratched out of the frozen river. Without significant snow, four-wheelers compete with sno-gos for the roadway, and even the few trucks in town are still about, making their way without the usually barriers of snow to have them parked for the winter.
The NOAA weather site says Freezing rain advisory in effect until midnight, but I’m just seeing snow building up in the school yard. I’m rooting for snow over rain. I hear wind harder now, swirling around the school in the night, but life in the village goes, and I see the lights of snowmachines and fourwheeler out and about. Earlier a woman asked if I was waiting to fly out. “No planes today,” she said, “Tomorrow maybe.” then she added, “Some one is waiting for a medivac. They need it bad.” That stopped me from pouting about not sleeping in my own bed tonight. Talk about perspective! As she walked away she said, “It takes a lot of faith to live in the village.”