Last Friday dawned, if you can call it that, with clouds so low they touched the treetops. The rain, having been a persistent if unwelcome companion for most of the past three weeks, continued to pound relentlessly outside my window.
I’d been stuck at home, recovering from covid, for the past week. I had napped a lot, worked some simple jigsaw puzzles (little ones that I could do on a lap table), listened to a series of Audible books by Dana Stabenow and spent time spinning. And listened to the blasted rain.
Fortunately, it was a fairly mild case of covid. Some super-meds and an inhaler were kicking the last of the cough and lung congestion, leaving me mostly just tired.
On Friday, my doctor told me (via tele-med) I was no longer contagious and just needed to finish out the round of medications and recover my strength. “Stay warm”, he cautioned, “and take care of yourself”.
I looked again with disgust at the rain smeared window. Oh, I was so sick of the rain.
I noticed the multitude of various shapes and sizes of mushrooms sprouting not only in the dripping undergrowth along the driveway, but right out of the soggy gravel driveway itself. I eyed Baxter’s and Rhonda’s raincoats hanging in the mud room to dry. It was all too much.
Enough already! I felt as though I was about to start growing mushrooms in my lungs if I had to breathe any more of this miserable, chilly, moist air.
I marched into the living room, where Jerry was ensconced in his recliner, watching a rerun of Battle-Bots, and announced that I was heading out to find sunshine and warm air so I could feel better.
He laughed and said, “Good luck with that!” And then did a double take when he realized I meant it.
He asked if I felt good enough to drive, and when I said I’d pull off the road and rest when I got tired, he nodded and asked one last question. “Do you actually think you can find any?”
It was a legitimate question. I had already checked the weather forecast for all of my favorite destinations. It was not just raining at home – it was either currently raining or about to rain (again) in Anchorage, Whittier, Seward, Cooper Landing, Soldotna, Kenai, Ninilchik, Homer, Valdez, Talkeetna, and Trapper Creek.
The forecast pretty much everywhere was for continuing rain for the next ten days.
I donned my raincoat, tucked Rhonda under my arm, and nodded.
“Yep”, I replied. “It’s sunny and 70° in Fairbanks.”
Of course, pretty much anyone who knows me knows I wasn’t likely to make it to Fairbanks in one day, even at my healthiest. Heck, I didn’t start out until two in the afternoon.
It was a long, wet drive, but at least I was heading the right direction. I knew there was sunshine and warm temperatures to the north.
And thus, my quest for warmth began.