Fall leaves frame a shot of Kenai Lake on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: To everything, there is a season

We don’t really have “seasons” where I’m from. It stays an amicable 75 degrees and sunny pretty much all year, even in January.

A temperate southern California limbo marked by sun-bleached stucco and 10-lane freeways. It’s beautiful in its own way, but it took moving to Alaska for me to appreciate the beauty of how seasonal shifts carve up the year into chunks.

Sept. 11 was a gorgeous day in Cooper Landing. Armed with a packed lunch, a book and a camping chair, I set up at the Quartz Creek Campground to soak up some sun. While crimson leaves fell around me and a soft autumn breeze swept through the trees, the turquoise water of Kenai Lake sparkled like diamonds where the sun hit it.

Other people apparently had the same idea to take advantage of the sunny day. Young children skipped rocks while small waves lapped their ankles, while their parents watched from the rocky shore and people launched colorful kayaks. Couples strolled hand-in-hand between the trees and family dogs fetched sticks from the water as if in a loop.

In times of such social and political calamity, it was nice to see that a group of strangers could mill about harmoniously in a shared space and agree that such a beautiful day was worth taking time to appreciate. Watching the central peninsula transform in and out of plush greenery and rainbow wildflowers, fluffy blankets of snow, gloomy autumn hues and sun-splashed skies has been similarly satisfying.

I like to think that our body politic is going through a similar period of transition, out of which will come a community that uses the shared struggles of the past two years as something around which we can unify to propel us forward. I hope a transition into that state comes as seamlessly as a seasonal shift from autumn to winter, but really I think it will require action on the part of individuals.

It will require people to have compassion for one another and the silent struggles we’re all going through. It will require minds that are receptive to hearing ideas that challenge our own beliefs and respect to allow those ideas to be shared and debated. It will require concessions that no one knows everything and that most people are doing the best with what they have.

In the meantime, I think it’s OK to focus on just taking things one day at a time. To appreciate pockets of tranquility amid the turmoil and to remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Like our environment, we as a body politic go through times of transition, ebbs and flows, even if that transition is not as visual as the change of leaves from green to red.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in Sports

Kenai Central's Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski's Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.… Continue reading

Assistant coach Taylor Shaw leads the Kenai River Brown Bears during a game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears start search for new head coach

The Kenai River Brown Bears issued a press release Friday about staff… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean tries to find a way through the defense of the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues during a first-period power play Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Jr. Blues come back to take series from Bears

The Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues lost not only a 2020-21 season to… Continue reading

Hockey roundup: SoHi sweeps in Kodiak; West wins End of Road tourney

The Soldotna hockey team swept Kodiak in the first high school games… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Caden Warren surveys the ice against West at the End of the Road Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai, Homer hockey lose to open tourney

The Kenai Central and Homer hockey teams both opened the End of… Continue reading

Caden Triggs of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrates his first-period goal against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topple Jr. Blues

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai River Brown Bears received two… Continue reading

Most Read