A journalist observes life in the far north.
We went to the cabin last weekend and Alec finally dug out the Quonset hut, which was almost completely buried in snow. He used a snow saw to cut out chunks of snow and built a castle. I helped a little by pulling the snow bricks over to the construction area using a sled. Jade helped too but mostly she would sneak away with the snow saw and play. Slate found the snow a bit slippery and bumpy for walking so he sat around on the snow watching us.
The big drama at Summit Lake, Alaska, this weekend was that a man known for drinking too much from time to time insulted a woman known for her pride in her ability to keep up with the guys on her snowmachine. The man reportedly suggested that the woman was at fault when her snowmachine broke down. The woman took great offense and let her spouse and friends know it. The next day, the man did not remember insulting the woman. Her spouse suggested that an apology was in order. The man was taken aback because he did not remember his comment, and furthermore he was incensed because the woman had apparently told her dismay to other people but she did not speak directly with the man with whom she had reportedly taken issue. So the man known for his tendency to drink too much from time to time left a day early.
Mostly everyone seemed to be on the side of the woman known for her snowmaching prowess because the man known for drinking too much has previously insulted other people. I took the position that the woman who was insulted should have confronted the man who drinks too much and told him her feelings were hurt and why. Maybe he would have apologized if the woman had talked to him directly.
I don’t think my family fits in all that well with the Summit Lake crowd but everyone is nice to us anyway because Alec is a very good snowmachiner and because he was been going to Summit Lake for 25 years. Most of our friends have large, comfortable cabins and brand new snowmachines. Their children are older. We stay in a shack, our sleds are old and our children are young. Alec hung prayer flags outside the cabin, giving it a hippie vibe that doesn’t seem to jive with the overall Summit Lake vibe, which is about family fun but also drinking and keeping up with the Jonses.
I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining. I love going to the cabin. This weekend, I read the New Yorker and worked on a quilt. The best thing was just being outside and all four of us together. I feel so at peace when all four of us—me, Alec, Jade and Slate—are outside together.