A Place of Tranquility
My favorite winter memories were all made about a mile down the road from my old home in Kenai, Alaska. At the very end of my mile-long dead-end street (which seems much longer to an eight year old,) there is a quiet little golf course teetering on the edge of civilization, about to fall into the vast wilderness called the Alaskan Frontier. In the summer months the course is occupied by hundreds of golfers all day long, but as soon as the first snow falls, the course is transformed from a golfer’s playground into a winter wonderland. I spent a great deal of time there during the winter months because it was a place of tranquility where one could be alone and connect with nature, or where friends go to have a good time away from parents and authority.
My older brother Ian and my best friend Preston and I would embark down Linwood Lane (the street I lived on) to the golf course at least a couple of times per week. It was a ritual to play catch along the way, so we always had a football. We would run down the freshly plowed street and occasionally dive head first into the five foot high snow-banks on either side of the street in order to catch a pass. During the ordeal I would notice how our schoolyard banter mixed with grunts of exertion and hyena-like laughter, cut through the crisp winter air like a razor-sharp scythe through a field of wheat-grass. The houses all around us stood like stoic statues, annoyed that their peaceful slumber was interrupted by these three noisy little creatures. At the end of the road a wall of snow-covered spruce trees stood so closely together that it was hard to discern where one tree ended and the next began. A sign posted on the foremost tree said in orange letters “No Trespassing.” These trees were defenders of a forbidden domain, challenging intruders to enter, then smothering them with snow fallen from their heavily burdened, thickly set branches.
Once we found the cracks in their...