Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OK, NOW it's summer in Juneau

For the past three months, my friends in Juneau have been updating me about everything I've been missing during the "best summer ever." Why, they asked me, was I wasting all of my vacation days in a wet and cold place like New Mexico when I could be somewhere sunny and warm, like Southeast Alaska? Well, I arrived July 16 beneath a drizzly wash of gray that hasn't cleared up for more than a couple hours until, well, until today.

My reintegration into society has also been a little on the drizzly and gray side. I had a rough go of my first week back at work - difficulty focusing, productivity down, more mistakes than usual. It's hard to transition from 12 hours a day on a bike to 10-12 hours a day in a cubical. It occurred to me that I was actually lucky the weather was gray, because it helped me keep my head turned away from the window.

I'm also still homeless. I've had a tough time finding an apartment that will allow me to have a cat, and where I can afford to live alone. Juneau rent is ridiculous. I supposedly have a good job and I'm looking at places that would cost me nearly 50 percent of my take-home income. I'm still holding out hope for a place around 30 percent. And in the back of my mind, I'm remembering how easy it was to just throw down a bivy sack and fall asleep wherever I decided to stop at the end of the day.

And then, just this morning, I woke up to sunlight on my face. I had three hours to kill before my work meeting so, with a pile of dirty laundry next to my suitcase, a stack of old medical and credit card bills on the desk, a list of landlords to call, and a fridge empty of food, I used those hours in the most productive way I could think of - I climbed Mount Jumbo.

3,337 feet for hundreds of square miles of perspective. Soaked in sweat and sunlight. That's when you know you're having a good morning.