The Most Beautiful Day in November

My house is a mess, I’m backed up on dishes, and we’ve been eating PB&J for lunch for a week. Why? Because the weather has been absolutely incredible this week. It’s been in the negative single digits Celsius (That’s the mid- to upper twenties for you Fahrenheit folks), and hardly windy, and we’ve actually managed to get out and enjoy it. Very warm for late November. Then this morning, the quality of the light during sunrise immediately told me that today would additionally be clear.

So I did the only possible responsible thing: I bundled up three protesting children and dragged them to the park.

Surprisingly for a child who loves following directions, N really hates following paths. Today we finally got to do what she’s always wanted to do: we eschewed the path and plowed straight up this little “mountain.”

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the hoarfrost. This is a new phenomenon to me! Hoarfrost comes from a gently blowing fine snow that is particularly good at accumulating on things. It sticks to everything – houses, rocks, power lines – accumulating into crystalline protrusions. Since we haven’t had enough snow yet to cover the grass, we’re getting amazing displays of hoarfrost stuck to plants.

Hoarfrost on a clump of snow seems somehow meta.

There is some snow with a hard-packed surface gathered in the divots in the ground, spilling down parts of the hill. My tiny children are too small to break through, so they discovered this angled hardpack makes a perfect slide.

They goofed around on this for a while, then N wanted to start heading up to the top. When M was done sliding, she wanted to head up too, but couldn’t just clamber straight up like N had. She’s just too small to climb over and through things, and she isn’t out as much as N is, getting her balance on the uneven tundra. I had to come down to her and help her navigate a path that we could both take.

I couldn’t help but identify with Martha. How often have I found someone ahead of me on a path that looks very inviting, and wished I could climb that exact same path to be where they are. But my Father is down with me, tracing out a path that I can follow, with my small abilities, to make my own way up.

Even more often, I’m more like D – He just carries me.

No matter how you go, though, you have to stop sometimes and admire the view.

When we got to the top, I almost cried. My favorite thing about coming to Sylvia Grinnell is the moment you crest the ridge and see nuna, the beautiful land, stretching out so far.

It was so spectacular. This was about as high as the sun is going to get today, less than a month from the solstice. I’m not sure if some of the bay is still unfrozen, or if there’s just melted water on top from this warm day, but there’s a band of delicious green-tinted light blue out there that’s just my favorite.

There were other treasures at the top, too.

A rock whose striking colorations can still be seen through the frost…

And evidence of a hilltop conspiracy of crows.

You know the baby is really asleep when she transfers out of the amauti (which involves turning her upside down over my head) and into the carseat without waking up. All in all, an hour very well spent.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

“Ataniq guuti, pijunnarngniqaqvigigakku; itigakka tuktungajuup itigangititut taimatimmagit, qaqqani innaarurngnilu quaittaaqunanga qanuiliqunangalu.” Habakkuk 3:19, Inuktitut

I can poorly backtranslate the first half:
“Lord God, he makes me have power; you make my feet like a caribou’s feet, on the mountain…”


2 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Day in November

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