A journalist observes life in the far north.
Turns out Alaska is not only the largest state in the union—more than twice as big as Texas—but one of the fattest. Two months ago, I opened the Health section of the newspaper and a picture of the United States jumped out at me. States with the most fat people were colored in dark and the skinny states were light-colored. Alaska was dark, sharing company with Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, the fattest state in the union.
The skinny states were Colorado, the skinniest, California, Vermont and Massachusetts. States such as Washington, Oregon, Virginia and Maine fell in between. Overall, the graph was dark-colored.
How can a state with the motto “North to the future,” suggesting movement, have more fat people per capita than Wisconsin, the cheese state? Even Illinois, where I was born and and where McDonald’s keeps its headquarters, kicked Alaska’s butt.
I don’t suppose I am one of those people doing Alaska’s ranking any good. I haven’t weighed myself since the spring of 2007. I tell myself that the pouch I am carrying around on my belly is premenstrual bloating. Never mind my period is not due anytime soon.
My hiking has slowed down since it started getting dark. I hate to admit this but I am afraid to walk in the woods by myself in the dark. Even bundling up and going out in the yard at night to check on the chickens scares me. The head lamp doesn’t provide much light. It’s still possible to startle a moose, and the hypothetic startled moose might charge me. A couple of moose spent the night on our land last weekend. And bears are still wandering around. A man about 50 miles away had to kill a grizzly bear and her two cubs after the sow charged him.
Driving is when my belly roll bothers me the most. I hate how my bra strap sort of rests against it.
Maybe I just need to get used to the woods in the winter. In the summer, there are busy little creatures and noisy birds to keep me and Lucky company. In the winter, it’s quiet. Eerily quiet. Tracks in the snow are the only evidence of living things. And when it’s dark, I feel like 1,000 eyes are on me.
Still, I miss going into the forest. I hope I can overcome my fear.