"We've moved well beyond “Oh Boy Snow Day!” and are now at the “Let's make NyQuil Popsicles for the kids” stage of Cabin Fever... "Anon.
As an Alaskan born and raised to homesteaders who often lived what one would call a "rustic" lifestyle compared to most folks in their homes with all the mod-cons, I've seen my share of very loooong, cold, dark winters. In the South Central area of the 49th state, one recognizes three seasons: winter (8 months), spring break up (1 very ugly month of melting snow and slogging mud), and summer (12 weekends between frosts during which one may see some sunshine before winter closes back in). There really is no autumn in Alaska. The leaves do turn, but it happens all at once. It takes about two weeks for all the leaves to turn mostly yellow and then fall in one fell swoop. On the mountains in the distance the very first dusting of snow is called Termination Dust--for obvious reasons.
I've survived my share of cabin fever episodes when one is dressed for the season in a dark depression which is accompanied by deep mourning--for light, space, sunshine, blue skies, green growing things (a blade of grass!), vine ripened tomatoes, fresh snap peas, raspberries on the bush, hot weather, money, love, time, health, companionship, the sound of another human voice--or any of a dozen other emotions and situations of which one might feel a desperate lack converging under cover of an Alaskan stygian night that seems endless.
I have two main requirements for happiness: space and quiet in nature--lots of it. While I can enjoy the company of others, I could just as easily live a life of full-on solitude without seeing or hearing another human being for many months without any difficulty because I can abide in the company of nature and my own self.
What I cannot abide is living nut to butt with other people. Living in such close quarters in this marina is definitely driving me slowly around the bend. Dear Sir is not far behind me.
The folks on one side of us visit their boat frequently over the weekend. Although they don't take it out of the marina, they stay the night, and party. The first weekend they came, we endured a six minute rendition of them singing "if the boat is a rockin' don't bother knockin'." The next afternoon as we sat at our dinette, our windows and curtains closed on the side facing their boat, Les sneezed and our neighbor replied, "Bless you!"
|Jack Nicholson in The Shining: a bad case of cabin Fever!|
The crux of the issue is this: marina boaters often don't twig to the fact that live aboard boaters are in their homes--not a weekend pleasure boat. We respectfully do not stare into their windows and we try to keep our voices and our noise down. We don't burn wood when they are on board as we don't want our smoke to annoy them. No doubt our weekend neighbors find us a bit aloof; when we see them outside our boat we are happy to stop and chat. When we are inside our boat it is our home and we want privacy.
In the meantime my daily walks have yielded some interesting situations and information. Just after Christmas as I was strolling through the main gate of the marina, I spied a council notice taped to one of the gate posts. Dated the first week of December, it announced the marina's application to change sixteen berths from leisure to residential which means space rent is going to go up and council taxes will be due for those who live aboard here. It isn't cheap to stay here and the longer one stays the more expensive it is--one doesn't actually get a break for signing an annual contract--oh no--after three months the cost of a mooring at this marina rises steeply.
|These bottles magically reappear every weekend!|
The bloke who is a jack-of-all-trades here is welcoming and helpful. One of his jobs is to go around the marina every Monday morning and gather up all the wine and booze bottles left out by weekend boaters who for some reason cannot seem to place their alcohol empties in the bin. Nothing like being paid to enable others to indulge and then behave irresponsibly. After seeing the massive weekend pile of empty bottles one can only hope these folks don't take their boats out of the marina!
|Heavy frost on the bow locker and jetty.|
|Breaking the ice behind us with the engine running in gear for a moment. NB Val is on the left.|
|Thawing the water hose in front of the fire.|
|We were moored here when Les came home from hospital!|
We are tired of staring at the same view day after day, week after week. We long to see birds in a new hedgerow, ducks, swans, geese and other wildlife on the cut, and most of all the reflection of sunlight on the water, making ripples on the ceiling of our boat. We sit in the shade of the boats either side of us all day. We long to pull our pins and move along. We are thankful for a place to rest while Les makes great strides regaining good health, and even more thankful it is January and in 29 days we will be back out on the cut. Happy New Year to each of You and may 2105 take you wherever in life you most wish to be!