Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cutting it close

There are some days you just know you're lucky, and every now and than, you get a whole week. This was one of them.

Beautiful sunrises, sunsets, fresh snow on the trails, a full moon to light them at night, they all help. But today, I felt like I had a high powered belt sander come within skimming distance of the seat of my trousers.
A few times a week I lay out the Nation and World sections of the paper. These section are made up entirely of wire stories. I could easily fill the sections with stories on the economy each day, but often I try and alternate between what the AP classifies as "meltdown" stories, and other topics. It's easy to overlook that the Lower 48 is experiencing a recession. It's impact up here is hard to notice. Working for a paper that's part of a national corporate chain however, we are inescapably linked to the economic fate of the rest of the nation.
I realized Wednesday night, that today's newsroom staff meeting was going to be tough. Sure enough, not long after the pizzas arrived, the publisher came in, the newsroom door was shut, and phone calls were put on hold.
We lost one of our staff members today, as did every department at the paper. I was pretty sure that person was going to be me, and I didn't sleep real well last night because of that.

Nonetheless, it's a real blow, and everyone knows it. We lost a great reporter today. We're already bare bones, and will struggle more than ever to cover everything we wish to in our community.

By the day I fall more and more in love with this place, here's a excerpt from an email I sent to Leila Wednesday evening:

"Some days the sun just won't go away. Sunrise and sunset this time of year is always intense, but this morning was particularly striking getting me off to a smiling start. I just had my game on at work today. I'm writing a story about the volcano across the inlet, and the photographer and I are talking about trying to get the observatory to fly us up there too when they install new monitoring equipment. That would be amazing for so many reasons. One of my co-workers invited me to his home for thanks giving. That was such a nice gesture, I have to work that day, and I really wasn't looking forward to maybe having a turkey sandwich, but hopefully I'll make it. It snowed a half foot here in sterling yesterday, a little less in Soldotna, but the trails are skiing great again. Monday was real sketchy after a day of above freezing temps and light rain, the first of either since early October. There's still not quite enough snow for the groomer to set a classic track yet, but slowly one is forming on most the trails from skiers running over the same set. There's more skiers out at night too so it feels much safer. After seeing bear tracks for the second time Monday and being the only one in the system both times, I was really starting to get concerned. The moon is full, bright and the skys clear these days too. The trail is lit so well by it I can almost ski without my headlamp, and more than once have glanced over my shoulder when I thought I was about to be overtaken only to realize it was just the moon. Trying to plan for the weekend. Avalanche danger is still very high. I did spot some safer areas to board last weekend and I'm tempted to go back, but this place is so big, it could be a two day effort, where the first I just snowshoe out and make an up track. Doing so will take so much time and effort I'd be too beat to ride and probably pushing daylight, but could go back for seconds the next day. It's not so simple as it used to be back east that's for sure. I also learned my boss' husband bagged Denali last spring, and will attempt mt. redoubt a 10k' volcano (google image it, it's the centerpiece of my drive to work on clear mornings) across the inlet this spring. He and his group train every weekend, and I think I'd like to start going with them, I think I've spotted them a few times now."

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