Story last updated at 7/22/2009 - 12:13 pm
I've found that sleeping on a boat while it's raining is more like sleeping in a tent than in a house. Rain on a sturdy roof can be pleasant to fall asleep to. But moderate rain can feel like a heavy storm when I'm trying to sleep two feet below the deck of my boat. I woke up at 2 a.m. Sunday night and had a hard time getting back to sleep as the rain pounded down and the boat rocked back and forth. It was hardly the worst I've felt on the boat - fall and spring storms have been the worst - but it was definitely the worst I'd felt since at least April.
And so, as I lay awake at 2 a.m., I couldn't help wondering: Is summer over?
I doubt I can get away with saying publicly that I was glad when it finally rained last week, after all those weeks of sun. But I was. When the weather has been stagnant for weeks, the change is welcome. Even if it is rain.
But by day two of rain, of course, I was ready for sun again. It's funny how after only a few hours of sun, we can easily forget it ever rains here, and after a day of rain we feel like it never does anything but.
There's a delight in the immediate contrast of weather - "It's refreshing!" a coworker said today - but why is the delight so short lived?
The present is sometimes so overwhelming that it's hard to put it in perspective, I think. When you're outside getting drenched in cool rain or sunburned from the hot, blaring sun, it's hard to step beyond and put the weather in context.
Contrasts are good and healthy, but it takes something more for those contrasts to lead to a widened perspective.
The first time you travel far from home, you often encounter culture shock. Huge differences in ways of life might not even require leaving the state, as those who have lived in both rural and urban Alaska can attest to.
I've felt culture shock while traveling and even in my own town. I've felt out of my element and lost or confused.
But then we we're back in our element, how often do we catch ourselves criticizing visitors in our towns, however good-naturedly, for asking silly questions?
I often have to remind myself to step back and find a little perspective. This can help in all areas of life of course, from dealing with rain, visitors, or bigger problems in your life.
It also, of course, is important in making sense of the history unfolding around us.
In light of Sarah Palin's departure from the office of governor this week, we decided to say good-bye by taking a step back.
It feels like Palin's been in the national limelight forever; it's hard to believe that just two years ago her media events involved things like throwing out the first pitch at a local Little League game.
But a quick search of the CCW archives yielded a bit of lost perspective. It's weird to see the now-famous Palin jogging up Franklin St. these days, but it wouldn't have been two years ago.
With the help of some good advice from friends, I'm starting to see this kind of thing as one of our missions here at the CCW.
We will of course continue to add to the new: new information, new stories, new perspectives, new events. But in the quiet moments between chasing the new, we'll be working on organizing and making sense of the old - in short, in providing a little perspective.
Keep watching the Web site - we'll be gradually doing more with our archives to create a bigger picture of the world we live in. I'll keep you updated in this space as things change as well.
Katie Spielberger is the managing editor of the Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org