It was the Saturday after I arrived back in Connecticut. I was somewhere in Westchester County and night had set in.
“In this moment, what do you miss most about Alaska?” he asked.
“The quiet,” I answered.
I said it fast, as the sounds of sirens, neighbors, cars, crickets, and a busy world raged on outside the window. Then I immediately changed my mind.
Alaska does have quiet. Even in a large city like Anchorage, the vastness of the landscape, the mountains, the rainbows, the fast moving tides, the wildlife, all of those things lend themselves to a sense of quiet and calm. I enjoyed it. I relished it. I experienced it and hope to again. I do not miss it.
We had an awesome summer. At the end of June, my brother flew from Connecticut to Anchorage with Aidan and Zach. While I was at work, they would explore. When I was off, we would explore together. It was a summer filled with glaciers, the Alaska Railroad, whales, sea otters, puffins, moose, bears, mountains, 22 hours of daylight, pizza, salmon, halibut, wine, beer, friends, singing in the car and some major life changing moments. Six weeks of once in a lifetime experiences. For that I am grateful.
I saw the Northern Lights. The twins and I saw them back in March but they weren’t very vivid. About two weeks before I moved back east, the lights came out for two spectacular nights. I could see them from the windows of my house. I ran outside in my pj’s and shared the moment with a friend. I woke the kids up and made them look as well. It was so quiet, I am pretty sure I could hear them dancing across the sky.
I am home now. Connecticut is home. It was never my intention to leave it, but I had to out of necessity. My pieces are still falling into place, slowly but surely. In the past few weeks I have seen rainbows, spectacular sunsets, coastal views, and changing leaves. I have seen some bad memories, made some great new ones, and find tremendous joy in sharing laughs with my family at night and on weekends. I am enjoying my girl times, focusing on friendships, and choosing to be close to those who matter the most. I think I found my funny again. (I had lost it…somewhere between JFK and Anchorage it left me…planning to share it with NYC again sometime soon. I do a mean Nancy Grace impression.)
So, Alaska, I say thank you for being so different. Thank you for allowing me to tell some great stories, create some of my own, share in the lives of your people, make some amazing friends, and experience you with my children.
“There are no crickets in Alaska,” I said.
Epilogue: There may be crickets in Alaska. It’s a debated topic on the www. I never heard them. Maybe it’s because I was too busy listening to the mountains, or the moose, or the distance. I never heard them in Anchorage, and several people confirm the same so I stick to “there are no crickets” in Alaska and will have zero tolerance for anyone who wants to rain on my parade.