Sometime in the 1970s, Stewart met with a famous psychic who told him he had an orange aura. Supposedly, one of the chief features of orange-aura-people is procrastination. The psychic said Stewart would always put things off until the last possible moment, but then he’d do a great job.
Based on that characteristic alone, I could tell you that my aura is not orange. I have a vague memory of someone telling me my aura is blue. So I just now looked at a color wheel online and confirmed that blue is indeed the very opposite of orange. Though now I think I’m straying from my point. The point is that Stewart and I have radically different ways of getting things done, and I never notice it more than during these weeks when we’re getting ready to leave for Alaska.
I was that annoying person in school whose papers were always ready two days early. For work projects, I break big tasks into manageable parts and set realistic deadlines for each one. I was born with this need to put my ducks in a row — and probably your ducks, too, if they stray close enough to mine.
When it comes to preparing for Alaska, I have lists and systems that help me get started weeks ahead of time. For example, because we’re renting out our house while we’re away and I knew I’d have to do a major kitchen sorting, I divided the kitchen into twelve zones and committed to taking care of one zone every day. The photo at the top of this post is part of what I found inside a small part of a single kitchen drawer, so you can understand why — besides being compulsive — a person might want to get a jump on things.
My orange-haloed husband prefers a different approach. His commitment is to leave almost All The Things until the final 48 hours. I don’t feel at liberty to offer a detailed perspective on his process, so I will just say it’s a good thing we like each other as much as we do. I have learned, for the most part, to keep my mouth shut and simply marvel at how it does always come together at the end.
Like right now, Stewart is very close to ready for his departure tomorrow. He’s the straight green line on the map below, flying directly from here to Fairbanks, where he’ll do most of our provisioning before heading down to the cabin.
I’m the meandering red line. (Last week a friend called what I do “peregrinating,” which I’ve adopted because it’s such a fine bird-related term for wandering around.) I’ll leave on Saturday and, once again, my trip will involve many varieties of transport: driving to Seattle with several stops along the way, a couple of ferries, a train to Vancouver, another ferry, a trip up Vancouver Island for a five-day painting workshop, then back down to Seattle where the red line finally straightens out for my flight to Fairbanks. I’ll get to the cabin in early September and stay there for two weeks or so. At the end of it all, I’ll come back down to Seattle, pick up my car, and peregrinate toward home. By then it will be fall.
We didn’t win the Denali Park Road Lottery this year, but I’m sure we’ll have other stories to tell. In fact, here’s one already: The park road partially washed out in a mudslide a couple weeks ago because of record rainfall in the area. It reopened just a few days ago.
Sounds like whatever stories we bring home, they may be on the soggy side.