Life in the Pedestrian Lane: 2017: We’re all in this together

Happy New Year!

Here we are, eight days into the New Year. We’re slowly gaining daylight; the political spitting contest is slowing down, or heating up, depending on your perspective; and the Tusty 200 sled-dog race is on again! All in all, 2017 looks like it could be a good year. Or at least a different year from the past one.

Just about everyone I know has commented on what a bum year 2016 was, and looking back on it, I have to agree in theory, although personally, it was no better or worse than most other times. And I experienced an insight of sorts that has changed my perspective a little.

Our daughter and son-in-law made a brief visit in December. He wanted some pictures of the aurora and where better than Fairbanks? They flew in and No. 1 son (a.k.a. Big Brother) picked them up and drove them to Chena Hot Springs for a photo session.

Although our son-in-law has visited Alaska before, albeit in the summer, he has lived in Hawaii most of his life, and the years he wasn’t in Hawaii he was in Florida or Southern California. His concept of winter is having to put on a hoodie to walk to the store so Fairbanks in mid-December was completely out of his realm of reality. Luckily, our daughter spent many years in the Interior, so knew what to expect, but how do you explain to a Sun Sprite that his eyelashes are going to freeze and he might want to put on socks? By the time they arrived on the Kenai for a quick hello, S-I-L (that’s ‘son-in-law’ for future reference) was feeling like a sourdough for having weathered the road trip while at the same time experiencing more than a little culture shock

We all celebrate Alaska’s uniqueness when speaking to our friends and family Outside, but we’ve learned to live with the darkness or the constant daylight. The extreme cold only invigorates us (well, it used to; now it encourages me to read a little more). We might comment on an especially glorious alpenglow, or a brilliantly sunny day, but generally, it’s old news. We expect it and seldom notice the beauty and uniqueness of our homeland. I guess that is why we have visitors from the south: to remind us how really blessed we are.

S-I-L, being a photographer, sees things a little differently. Of course his first comment was about how dark it was. They arrived during the overcast, foggy days just before Solstice: our darkest time. But by mid-day, and a trip to Soldotna with bright sunny skies, he marveled at the hoarfrost on the trees and fences (apparently, even Lower 49 kids read Jack London and Robert Service) and watched for a chance to catch Redoubt sparkling in the sun. Didn’t happen, but that gives him an excuse to return.

So I took another look. And he was right. It was absolutely beautiful out there. Cold and crisp, frost enhanced the trees and made the cyclone fence around the community garden in Kenai seem almost impenetrable. Even in the dark, the twinkle lights around town elevated everyone’s feelings of the season. A real winter wonderland, to coin a phrase. And it occurred to me that I had been seeing it every day, but taking it for granted, because it’s so familiar.

So back to 2017. What’s the old saying: Familiarity breeds contempt. I think that is what is coloring everyone’s concept of the coming year. We are so used to complaining about the government that we forget we have fought hard for that right, and if we fight against each other we are in danger of losing sight of the need for vigilance against any entity that would use our perceived differences to foment rebellion.

Half the country is so busy being “offended” because they didn’t get their way they don’t remember that sometimes that’s how it works and the other half is so busy saying “nyah-nayh-nyah” they don’t remember that what goes around comes around. Using my new won insight, I think we all need to remember that (hopefully) we all want the best for our country, regardless of the philosophy governing it. We’ve survived ultra-conservatives and super-liberals throughout our history. That’s what we do best: go with the flow. Acting like a rebellious teenager and pouting for the next several years only proves to the other side that they, in fact, had it right and the liberals are a bunch of big babies. But, smugly sitting back and letting the powers that be run amok without any oversight will only prove to that “other side” conservatives have no place running the government.

If we remember we’re all in this together, 2017 could be a year to remember.

Just saying!

Virginia Walters lives in Kenai. Email her at vewalters@gci.net.

More in Life

Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)
Intensive Broadway Bootcamp offered in Homer in August

During the five-day bootcamp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

Dillon Diering and Sarah Overholt dance while the Tyson James Band performs during the 45th Annual Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival in Moose Pass, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We’re about community’

Moose Pass throws 45th annual Summer Solstice Festival

This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fueling happy memories

Fresh salad accompanies an outdoors Father’s Day meal

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Calvin Fair, in his element, on Buck Mountain, above Chief Cove on Kodiak Island, in October 1986. His hunting partner and longtime friend Will Troyer captured this image while they were on one of the duo’s annual deer-hunting trips. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
The Road Not Taken: A tribute to my father’s career choice

For the first 40 years of my life, I saw my father professionally as a dentist. Period.

Edward Burke is ordained a transitional deacon by Archbishop Andrew E. Bellisario at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo provided by Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church)
Kenai’s Catholic Church hosts diaconate ordination

The event was attended by roughly 300 people, nearly a dozen priests and deacons and the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau

Rhubarb custard cake is ready to be baked. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rhubarb and running to lift the spirits

Frozen rhubarb just won’t do for this tart and beautiful custard cake, so pick it fresh wherever you can find it

Most Read