The moon sits above Mount Redoubt on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

The moon sits above Mount Redoubt on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of Office: Chasing sunshine

The winter solstice fell on a beautiful Tuesday last month. I woke up to flickers of sunshine peeking through the gaps in the curtains and knew it was going to be a good day. Daylight has that effect.

I took the long way to work that day instead of the more practical, shorter Kenai Spur route. I tend to do so on days when the sky is clear and the mountains are visible — when it’s clear sunlight was taken for granted in my native southern California. There’s something about a sunny morning that makes everything feel OK.

Along the bends in K Beach, a fuschia Redoubt popped up intermittently at the end of the thoroughfare’s offshoots. Near Ciechanski, I could feel the rising and the alpenglow hues slipping away and tried to guess the number of seconds that remained. The final turn onto Bridge Access didn’t disappoint.

The crests of Redoubt and Iliamna split the sky behind frozen flats and snow soaked in golden light while a pale moon hung in the sky. The mouth of the turnoff to Kenai Flats seemed as good a place as any to take it all in. Undoubtedly one of the best parts of winter is getting to catch the sunrise and sunset every day.

A deep breath caused my lungs to fill with frigid air and I pictured them crystallizing. Deep breathing is supposed to be a good way to reduce anxiety and relieve stress. In. Out. The feeling is electrifying and makes facing the world seem a little less daunting. Of course, the sunlight helps too.

Of course, nothing in the serene landscape hinted at the tectonic plates preparing to shift underfoot. The 5.2 earthquake that rattled the central peninsula later in the day and sent me ducking and covering under a desk was an unexpected, albeit exciting, twist to the day.

It’s easy to let everything wrong in the world weigh you down. To get so lost in the endless stream of bad news that we forget that sunny days exist. Trying to stay positive is like trying to catch up to the sunrise alpenglow. It’s sometimes a conscious choice we have to make, to deviate from our usual route or be willing to take the long way.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in Sports

Hoops roundup: Seward girls notch first win of season

The host Seward girls basketball team defeated Unalaska 48-29 on Saturday in… Continue reading

Kenai's Caden Warren, Landon Cialek and Logan Mese celebrate a goal by Mese against Palmer on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Railbelt hockey tightens even more

Kenai gets big weekend sweep

Brown Bears snap 10-game skid

The Kenai River Brown Bears snapped a 10-game losing streak with a… Continue reading

Kenai, Nikiski squads take road losses

The Kenai Central girls and boys basketball teams were swept at Chugiak… Continue reading

Houston’s Daniel Matveev celebrates a goal against Soldotna on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi, Homer hockey take losses

The Houston hockey team notched a 6-1 victory over Soldotna on Thursday… Continue reading

Bears return home for 3-game set

The Christmas break threw the Kenai River Brown Bears out of their… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong, seated, in sled, gives his mother, Sylvia Jander, the unique Alaska experience of driving a sled-dog team in February 1989 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Fill out the squares of the Alaska Adventure Bingo Card

Moose, bears, sled dogs wolves, whales oh my: Alaska offers many adventures to check off.

Dog sick fungus, named for its resemblance to canine vomit, is neither vomit nor a fungus. It is a kind of slime mold common in tundra. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Names of living things have much to say

As we at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge seek to know about… Continue reading

SoHi JV girls topple Ninilchik

The host Soldotna JV girls basketball team notched a 39-27 victory over… Continue reading

Most Read