the visitor


The little man is sleeping, lulled back into the world of dreams by milk and a pitch black room. I’ve been up since 5AM. Once the clock rolls forward another few hours, I decide sleep is for the birds and I may as well enjoy the quiet. And the darkness.

I pad into the kitchen, pulling a worn university sweatshirt over my head. The gray one with raggedy cuffs and a stretched neckline really is the best. I will the water to pour out of the faucet quietly. Lukas hasn’t adjusted to the time difference yet (who am I kidding? Neither have I) and he’s been sleeping a lot the past few days.

For as long as I can remember, my morning ritual has consisted of pulling back the curtains, opening the blinds, doing whatever it is I need to do to let the sunlight come flooding in. The problem I’m facing in Fairbanks is that there is no sunlight in the mornings (duh). The best I get is a faint milky glow, assisted by the colorful strings of Christmas lights shining cheerfully from my neighbor’s chain link fence.

I plop a tea bag into the tiny earthenware mug I find and decide to check out the outside world. I’d prefer a milky glow to the plaid, country style curtains covering the sliding glass doors. I quietly move one curtain, then the other, only to squint at the dark thing laying in my yard. A moose is using the snowy yard as her snowy bedroom. She’s about ten feet away from me. I stare hard for a few minutes before I realize that the moose is actually staring back at me. I tug the curtains shut.

All I’ve heard from friends and family is how dangerous moose are; that there are more deaths by moose than by bears or sharks. Yikes. What if this thing decides to charge the sliding glass doors? I go back to the computer, only to hear a light tap tapping on the glass. Moose don’t tap at glass doors, do they? I check outside again, noticing that the moose has switched positions (she’s closer now). Great. It’s almost as if she thinks she’s found a friend and wants to engage in conversation. What does a person talk to a moose about? 

When I check yet again, minutes later, I’m half expecting the moose to be only inches away this time, staring at me from the side porch. But no, she’s gone: on to the next snowy yard, the next conversation with a person in a sweatshirt and pajama pants.

                            Excuse the grainy photo, taken by an iPhone in the darkness.

                            Excuse the grainy photo, taken by an iPhone in the darkness.