The city started the year deep in cold, a low over the Alaska Range sucking Arctic air southward after two days of angry wind. The Christmas snow turned into concrete. Ice fog set in. I walked my dog under the streetlight, LEDs casting four-dozen shadows of us, an uncertain matrix. I tell him to focus, no dilly-dallying, but he gets cold anyway, lifting a paw and looking at me with blame in his amber eyes. On our walk, I see the bags of holiday trash that have already taken flight off the back of pickup trucks onto the snow. The confidence of some people must be endured by others; no, it doesn’t need to be tied down. I’ve done this a thousand times. Stop fussing. Relax. It will be okay. But the gamble for time or money or stories doesn’t always work out. At sea, the speed of freezing spray is unsympathetic. Happy New Year, Honey, but now I need to go, the ship is heavy with ice. Oh, the ship is sinking. Now we’re really gone.

Jessica Cherry, PhD is a scientist, writer, and commercial pilot living in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

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