I have a secret, a deep dark secret. Do you know? Can you guess? Well, I’ve decided to let the cat out of the bag. My secret is, I am afraid of the dark. Irrationally afraid of the dark and all the things lurking in the dark, waiting to pounce on me when no one can see it.
This fear makes winter in Alaska challenging, as it just keeps getting darker, and will be completely dark in a little more than a month. My silly fear complicates things even more when you consider that every time I have to go to the bathroom I must leave our cozy home and walk around the house, cross the back yard, and use our chilly outhouse. Yes, the path is lit with a bright light that is triggered by motion. But it does not light the woods around us, and certainly there are strange creatures lurking in the dark, waiting for the perfect moment to get me.
When we first arrived, and I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I was extremely frightened. Some nights I would just hold it instead of going out in the dark. But then, the sun rose at 5 am, so I could go out then and be fine. Once, I’m ashamed to say, I peed right next to the front deck I was so scared.
But I’ve gotten better. This is in part, I am sure, to the fact that it is more often dark than it is light. I must get over it out of necessity. So I have a routine. I step out onto the deck, where the first light turns on. I look around to check for moose. Then I go down the stairs and around the house, at which point I stop, and wave my arms and kick high in the air to trigger the next motion light. (You’d think that move would scare away all the creatures, but it never works… they are always there…)I walk the length of the house, past the big pine where the flying squirrel lives, and stop at the edge of the yard. The light illuminates the yard itself, so I look both ways for moose before crossing. Then I walk to the far side of the yard. This part I have down. Go me.
It’s the return from the outhouse that does me in. The woods are behind me as I walk back to the house, just what the moose and other creatures of the dark are waiting for. I walk as long as I can, usually until I reach the tree, at which point I remember the flying squirrel that lives there. I break into a run (which is hard in snow boots) and scoot past the tree, lessening the squirrel’s chance of landing on my head when he pounces, which he surely is waiting to do. I round the stairs, run up and into the house -safe!
The creatures of the darkness haven’t gotten me yet. Who’s afraid of the dark? Not me!