Condo at La Paz Tres Lirios de Cala oil canvas by Kelly
Arrived to whites, browns, maroons, and greens in Homer, Alaska and the crisp embrace of fresh snow, clear skies and sunshine on Friday, February 7th. We left the blue, oranges, and reds of La Paz and the soothing warmth of blazing skies via Cabo San Lucas Wednesday, February 5th.
I began to choke on the closed air of airplanes by the time we reached the Anchorage leg of our journey and a stay in the downtown Sheraton overnight. Turns out it was so cold while we were gone that the hotels water pipes froze and burst. There was huge repair and renovation going on. With the stale, moldy air and a "ventilation" fan in our room that blew constantly, I could barely breathe by the time we departed for the airport and the last leg of our journey home, so the blast of cold as we climbed off the commuter plane and onto flat ground was welcome. El Sol pulled a fast one and burned so brightly in the Alaskan sky that I had to pull out my shades and put them on. It was 26 degrees.
A sweet reunion with Clyde the Fraud dog, who kept the Alaskan home fires burning for us, followed and today, my quick jaunt with him up the road and back served to refamiliarize me with my snug Ugg boots, long underwear, and the need for wearing, well, clothing and shoes.
I'm a bare foot girl from way back, so the freedom of bare feet and shorts in La Paz, with local residents asking me, "Aren't you cold?" (January and 65 degrees in La Paz is considered cold by local standards, but by Alaskan standards it was positively go-naked weather; besides, it was more frequently around 80 degrees the entire month, which, we were told, was unseasonably warm for that time of year. Either way, we are talking tropical and nothing feels better to me than terra cotta tile beneath my bare feet.)
So, while the sun is high and bright in the sky, remaining visible our first few days back in our part of Alaska, and while daylight increases exponentially as the earth continues its rotation (we gained, roughly, 5 minutes and 31 seconds of daylight today in Homer, Alaska), the need for warm clothing, shoes, and propane, wood, or other combustibles to generate heat remains paramount. Even indoors, I have to keep socks on my feet or they turn into cold bricks. Did I mention that I like to go barefoot?
In any case, though I've had to put on shoes and long pants, it feels much warmer than the 20 degrees F reported by the weather underground. On our walk though, Clyde calls me a "wuss" and reminds me that the average low in January was 6 degrees F at Cooper Wounded Bear Kennel, where he toughed it out while, his brown eyes accuse, we were on our "spa" vacation in La Paz, Mexico. The average low in Homer in January was 17 degrees F. The average low in La Paz, Mexico for January was 56 degrees F and the average high 76 degrees F.
We are getting a warm Alaskan welcome home, but I'm going to miss my barefoot days in La Paz.
Note: The above image is an oil I was inspired to paint for our hosts, Al and Michele during out stay in La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico. (image: Tres Lirios de Cala by Kelly O'Neal Thompson, copyright January 2009 do not reproduce without express permission of the artist)