From Tempestuousness to Tranquility
By Morgan Smith
As I lie in my bed, silence filling my head. It’s quiet enough to hear the crunching snow of a neighbor’s feet outside. As I drift back to sleep in the vast darkness of the night, I’m filled with peace. The safety and security of my new home gives me this after previously living in an area where I was afraid to leave even a window cracked while asleep.
I wake up refreshed to the sound of my children stirring for school. After their morning routine, I send them off with hugs and feel confident in the safety of the community we now reside. Living in Girdwood is truly the first time we all feel at home.
We are transplants of Anchorage. Having lived there for years within the cities hub-bub, we were ready to find solace in a place we had lived for a short stint years ago. We moved back to Girdwood, a decision my three sons and I are still pleased with everyday as we forge our new destinies here in this small, but wonderfully unique town nestled in the Chugach Mountains.
As I wrap up my morning chores, I sit and gaze out the window at the snow capped mountains. Something I now enjoy immensely after staring out my window at buildings in Anchorage. The Chugach Mountains are so grandiose that it’s hard to not be overwhelmed as my eyes are filled with their splendor.
I step out onto the street to walk to my next destination with my son by my side. He begs to head to one of many child friendly locations sprinkled around town. Skatepark, playground, library, his choices seem endless. It fills my heart with joy watching my children thrive here in Girdwood. Making new friends and feeling comfortable here seems less stressful. Girdwood is filled with caring people and moments and after living in a big city where you don’t know your neighbor, it seems pleasantly surreal.
Walking down the street, I view all the little things I loved in the big city. Good food, local festival and events, live bands, art showcases, poetry readings and so much more are all still present here. For a town of small stature, it offers an abundance of culture and fun.
It’s time for school to get out, and as the bells ring and I watch the children pour from the school, I smile at the expression on my children’s faces. I ask if they are liking school still, and my oldest son Luca responds, “no, I love it!” It makes me laugh seeing his happiness about to combust inside him.
My middle son Paxton hands me a slip of paper. I ask what it is and he tells me that hung on the bulletin board inside their school are tabs of paper you can individually rip off. Each one with a kind phrase called Take a Compliment, encouraging kindness among the children. My children have attended several other schools and never once have I seen such importance put on compassion and community. I ask if they want to go get some energy out and they respond with a yes. Now the toughest decision of our day is choosing where to go. With endless trails there’s no wrong choice, and now all that’s left is to go.
When we had our fill of fresh cold air, we decide to grab a hot drink at our local coffee spot, The Grind. As we stand in line, I overhear the people ahead of us talk about Girdwood’s natural splendor and I smile to myself knowing how lucky we are to live in paradise.
We walk home and the boys watch a bald eagle circle overhead. They wonder if it’s the same one their school had released a few weeks prior. It is just one more example of this community’s humanity and its ability to extend that to the animals that share our town.
We see a neighbor and we exchange greetings, then head inside to wrap up our day. We cook dinner and relax into the tranquility of another peaceful evening. The lack of city sounds is something I relish every night. Teeth are brushed and we step out onto the deck to soak up the stars before hitting the hay. With very little light pollution, they twinkle overhead and it’s breathtaking.
We used to be required to drive outside Anchorage’s city limits to get views like this. Now all that’s required is a clear sky. Now we are hoping for a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. My sons haven’t seen it, and I’m excited for all the opportunities Girdwood presents us with.
As our weeks here turn into months, I hope that we can contribute as much to this community as we have gained, and as we learn more names and delve deeper into our routines I know now more than ever that this community is where we belong. It is our home.