I just finished reading a short story called “The Sleep,” by Caitlin Horrocks, about a small town that hibernates for the coldest weeks of winter. I recommend the tale to all Alaskans–indeed, to anyone who endures the long dim days of snow and ice.
My husband has been spending lots of time at our cabin this winter, exploring the backcountry by snow machine with friends, and just enjoying the view and the solitude. I’ve been content to stay home and huddle before the fireplace, work on writing projects, and play with the cats.
Now that March is here in full swing, though, I’m more eager to get outside and actually feel the sun’s heat on my face and through my coat. I’m waking up!
I think the characters in “The Sleep” have a mighty fine idea, wrapping themselves in blankets, sleeping communally by the heater, eating just a little between long naps. They saved money on utilities, lost weight, and weren’t so grumpy. But last night I stood outside in zero degrees watching the aurora zinging around overhead. It looked like to was pouring from the Big Dipper. And the moon appeared for 30 seconds in the mountains’ cleavage, then was gone. I’d have missed all that if I’d been hibernating.