The rocks favored a north face, so it really wasn't surprising there was residual snow and ice on them. It slowed my progress, but the climb has never been of technical flavor that favors ropes and belays, and that's not the kind of climbing I do anyway. Despite the snow and ice, it was a nice scrabble, which I knew was the last one I'd be doing for awhile. I've never learned the discipline of ice climbing, and, like skiing and/or snowboarding, I cannot say I've ever had much interest to give it a go.
At the top, I was afforded a vantage point that stretched up and down the valley. The funky little mountain township I think of as my Kashmir spread out below. I could see the final shards of direct sunlight upon the House of Owls and Bats. In just a few days, that would no longer happen, and the long dark would be here. An involuntary shiver passed through my frame.
It's part of the price of admission; to live where I want to live, I must endure six weeks of dysfunctional Alaska. So it goes. The world's axis is the reason for the season. After so many years up here, I've gotten to the point of just regarding it as a harbinger of winter and look forward to the days when direct sunlight shines on the house once more.
I sat back on the rock, surveying my surroundings. The sun was warm on my face and crisp early winter breezes teased the tendrils of my dysfunctional calico hair. I could sense it; for a bit, my walkabouts were going to favor the southern faces, less snow and more sunlight. Unless we get struck with a particularly impressive blizzard, I know I won't even attempt to snowshoe until deep winter. That's just the way of it.
It was not until coming to the mountains that I truly understood just how much influence that celestial nuclear furnace held over us. Differences in wiring is why, despite my wonky sleep patterns, I am not as nocturnal as I once was, whilst Sabina is only up at dawn if she's not slept. An interesting dynamic that makes the prospect of an early morning walkabout with her a dubious proposition.
In the time I sat up top, watching my tiny world go by, I could see the sun dancing along the ridge line of Mount Pendleton. Incrementally, I watched the direct light fade from the row of houses along Rue Maji, the House of Owls and Bats being amongst the first. In just a few more days, there would not be that kind of light at all and that's just the way of it. Mei fei tsu.
With a shrug I started to make my way back down. I was heading into the shadows, but that didn't bother me too much. After all, it's part of the price, and all things for a price, that's the deal. I might be living in perpetual shadow for a bit, but I know I'll be chasing the sun.