Dear returning reader,
I made it back home from my trip to Portland, Oregon, just in time for the first snowfall of the year. At about 8 last night, my husband turned on the porch light and the darkness was filled with huge, wet snowflakes. Our daughters cheered and ran out onto the deck in their bare feet to catch snowflakes on their tongues. Then our oldest dashed back into the house with a handful of snow and slid it down the back of my neck.
As a family, we’re unusual even for Alaskans. We welcome the first snow. We have the greatest sledding hill in the world. We build snow men and snow angels and snow forts. We cross-country ski and snowmachine. We watch the comings and goings of wild animals by their tracks. Most of all I love the clean, quiet feeling of a blanket of fresh snow across the land. It makes me feel at home.
As does a dish of caribou stroganoff, which I made for dinner last night. And a crackling fire in the wood stove.
I’ve always liked Portland. There is so much culture and energy, art and innovation. At the Pacific Northwest Booksellers trade show, I met some wonderful literary people, and discovered some books that I’ll write about in a letter later this week.
Friends from Alaska are living in Portland now. When I was done with the trade show, they took me to 23rd Avenue, with all its upscale shops. I had my first bowl of matzo ball soup, and it was delicious. Then we wandered through a beautiful neighborhood of Victorian turrets, well-trimmed hedges, and $1.2 million price tags, and then up into Washington Park with its towering cedars and hemlocks and its elegant rose gardens. It was a lovely afternoon.
Portland has great beer, fabulous coffee, and entertaining people watching opportunities. It has an enviable book store and countless concerts, plays, gallery shows, readings, and other artsy events.
But at the end of the trip I was ready to come home to Alaska. To snow. To caribou stroganoff. To a warm fire. To family.