The sun shines on the Kenai Mountains in Turnagain Arm on Saturday, July 9, 2022 near Anchorage, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Simple gifts

It’s always humbling to be reminded of what we take for granted in this life.

When faced with the prospect of having to drive to Anchorage from Sterling at around 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday last weekend, I’ll admit I was kind of dreading the journey. The drive always seems so daunting before it’s been made. Still, I got up with my alarm, filled my thermos with coffee and set off.

Close to delirious because of the early hour, my sleepy brain was unable to process anything beyond “Wow” as I took in the ever-dazzling scenery along the Sterling and Seward highways: tips of towering spruce trees silhouetted against gloomy fog, the rose-colored tint of the sky around the peaks of the Kenai Mountains, the gaggle of geese wandering lazily through the middle of the road.

The splendor of Southcentral is something that never gets old. In a world of chaos and tumult, the constant of this corner of the world’s unparalleled beauty is reason enough to wake up every day thankful.

There are other, nonmidnight-voyage activities that have gradually come back into my life after a pandemic-sized hiatus, which I’ve developed a new appreciation for.

Like a lot of people, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic has given me a new appreciation for things I used to not think twice about. I celebrated the summer solstice with friends in Moose Pass, ate in a restaurant last month without wearing a mask and have spent hours in the Soldotna Public Library picking up and setting down communal books.

How lovely it is to participate in our community in so many simple ways!

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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