It is part of our long term plan as a family to move to Florida. Not only to be near my parents, but also because we fell in love with Panama City during our wedding trip.
Most of the time, when I am envisioning our future there, I am going over the things I dislike about Alaska-the cold summers, the long winters, the bad drivers, the isolation.
Jennie asked me today if I would miss it.
I thought of the fall here. The leaves turn gold, and the red berries appear. The air is crisp, no matter if the sky is grey or blue. You layer on clothes because you refuse to take out a heavy coat just quite yet. The weather goes from a steel grey drizzle to a bright blue sky and back again in the span of a day.
I moved here in the fall. I spent my days walking through a patch of trees to get to my classes on campus. There is a smell of wet earth you get only here, a smell that is both putrid and delightful, as if you can smell the earth gaining nutrients. I learned what termination dust, the beginnings of snow on the peaks of the mountains, forebode. I breathed in cool, clean air.
I fell in love with Jason in the fall. We found out we were pregnant in August, and we decided to commit to each other, to find out if we were really the soulmates we suspected we were. We spent hours cooking together, walking together, riding the bus together. We explored each other’s hearts, and liked what we found. We curled up in my tiny apartment with very little real furniture and planned our futures.
Which involved the little babe inside me who was to become Violet. I also spent that fall falling in love with her. Walking through more trees on my way to work, singing to her, talking to her. I was never sure before her whether parenthood was right for me. But this girl, this spark, this little life, I knew this was my purpose. I knew my life was going to be devoted to her from then on.
And this fall. Where I am cozy in my fuzzy shoes and sweaters, planning for this new babe. Where I enjoy many conveniences and luxuries I never would have imagined those 3 falls ago. Where I can look at my husband and daughter proudly, knowing I am doing the best I can for them. Knowing that our hard work and smart living is beginning to pay off as we can see our future plans beginning to come true. This fall, where I take my daughter for walks down safe streets, and her health and vibrancy allows her to run ahead in search of the perfect rock. Where she can recognize the snow on top of her favourite mountain, where she can exclaim over the moose in the parking lot.
I don’t know if I will miss Alaska as an entity. Because all these little things – the stream where we took our first family photo, the park where Violet runs amuck, the sunrises I studied when I was in the throes of depression from my miscarriage – these are things I carry in my heart.