Thoughts, ramblings, experiences and joys of an Alaska girl. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly rooted in the Great Land of Alaska.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Snowflakes and Earthquakes

We were worried for a while that we wouldn't have a truly "white Christmas" here, even though we live in Alaska. The snow has been sparse, and what has accumulated has been washed away by the rain that followed these past few months. Yesterday, however, we awoke to falling snow.

I've been here for a year and a half, and was here last winter. But, I have to admit that I have never in my life seen snow like I saw yesterday (and I've seen a lot of snow, having lived in Utah and Montana for most of my youth, and having lived in Connecticut for a while during winter time). The snow that fell from the sky yesterday was the perfect powder. It was the consistency of instant mashed potatoes before adding the liquid. The snow was light, crisp, and the flakes were perfect "snowflake" shapes complete with the "arms" extending from the center with pointed ridges. It was as if Jack Frost spent Christmas Eve cutting out perfect snowflakes, then let them fall from the sky on Christmas Day. The flakes were large, and looked like flat glass shards that could be broken in half instead of melted. They were so dry and lacking in moisture that they couldn't be packed into any sort of snowball at all and ran through my gloved fingers like sand on a beach. It was a magical day, except for the earthquakes.

We had an earthquake during the morning while opening presents, and another in the afternoon while we were watching a movie on the television. While earthquakes are nothing new in Alaska (we live in the state with the most earthquake activity and active fault lines of any US state), living now in a house perched on a mountainside above a river it didn't make me feel safe feeling the jolts and hearing the house creak the way it did. I told Alex it is a fear of mine that the hillside will sluff like the hillsides along the fault in Anchorage did during the 1964 earthquake, and our house will slide down the bluff with us in it. Both earthquakes registered at about 3.5 on the scale. Neither would have made our house slide into the bluff, but I can just imagine the headlines "Christmas Quake Of 07 Turns Hillside Home Into Sled For Owners On Eagle River Bluff."

In spite of the jolts, we had a wonderful Christmas day. It was a wonderful White Christmas!