It is almost 11 a.m. and the sun has not yet risen. The thermometer registers twenty degrees below zero. How do we survive in this place? And why? Many of our friends have taken to spending the winters elsewhere, like Arizona. We’re retired, so why don’t we join them?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fact that our current way of life here is unsustainable. We Alaskans import something like 95 percent of our food. Last year when the food supply line was interrupted, the grocery store shelves cleared off in three days. That event should have shaken everyone, but as soon as the systems were repaired, we all sort of forgot that it had happened.
In case of a power outage, our house has backup systems that would carry us for a while. We live in a birch forest so we have the means to stay warm, and could also cook on the wood stove. Without electricity we don’t have access to our water tank, but we could melt snow in the winter and collect rainwater in the summer. We have some food put by in the freezer: salmon, kale, and berries, mostly, but it wouldn’t last long. While I’m not inclined to stockpile a survival bunker (I have seen large cans and boxes of unreal food items for sale at some stores), I wonder if we should be better prepared.
These thoughts are taking me to a depressing place. Maybe I should go back to bed and hibernate until Spring. Or perhaps I should focus on where I find hope, peace, joy, and love in this season of Advent. Yesterday in meeting for worship I had a profound sense of being part of a community. There was no vocal ministry, but a sense of peace pervaded the room. I felt gratitude and love for these people with whom I have been worshiping for almost thirty years. These are my people. I belong here. I will wait with them, expecting a birth, a birth of something new, a divine light that will shine in the darkness.
As I look out my window now I see that the sun is just barely hitting the tops of trees on the distant hill. There is reason for hope. I will put on my warmest gear and take a walk to a place where the sun can hit my face. Yes, I will survive another day.