A journalist observes life in the far north.
The earth squished under my feet last night as I climbed my hill, which is producing mushrooms and berries. Wood smoke permeated the air, and smoke wafted from every chimney. I smelled a musky dog-poo-like scent that caused me to repeatedly check the bottoms of my shoes. Finally, I realized the smell wasn’t me. It was the forest. Maybe a more accurate way to describe the smell is that it was like the bottom of a laundry basket full of damp, dirty clothes. What did I expect after weeks of rain? Every pothole on the road home held a puddle of water.
People here are giving up on summer. There is talk of the coming winter months. There are seven of them. Parents are taking their children school clothes shopping. Heating oil companies are mailing letters asking whether customers want to be on auto fill. More and more trucks on the road are carrying loads of firewood. I started the chore of going through Lucky’s winter clothes. Still, I can’t bring myself to pack up her summer shorts.