Layercake clouds over Anchorage

By Jessica Cherry

The city was plausibly cold this past week. Trees were re-flocked. Star-full, clear nights glimmered before clouds crept back in. When I run my bath before bed, Eklutna’s glacial waters pour from the faucet as an engineering marvel. I wonder about the glacier’s endurance, and that of the natural gas from Cook Inlet, which heats the water to the scalding temperature that I prefer. I think about the web of pipes under the city, which bring these conveniences to me for the monthly cost of participating in a collective will. Sunday, I put down my coffee and said to my husband, ‘let’s go see the reservoir’ and we did, winding up into the Chugach while the roads were still good. The lake sat there like a flat, grey promise, ice forming and cracking at the outlet. Back at home that night we boiled water for crab and poured whiskey for friends. My boss texted about ice jam flooding in Willow. ‘Will you go in the morning?’ he asked me. Winter Solstice always feels like something to survive, but having come out the other side, eyes half closed in a dark dream, I wonder what we miss by trying so hard.

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

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