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.