Juxtaposition: the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
Alaska is full of juxtaposing qualities, and the other night, I experienced first hand just how contrasting Alaska's weather, in particular, can be.
What began as a late night spent watching reruns of Teen Wolf in my bed whilst catching up with my journal, very quickly turned into a body freezing, heart pounding, terrifying few hours in the dark spent worrying over the safety of my family and my home state.
At 12:32am, January 23rd, 2018, a 7.9 earthquake rattled the state of Alaska, 175 miles south of Kodiak Island. My shaking bed woke me up from a slumber I had just slipped into and for about two minutes, I sat paralyzed under my covers, watching my chandelier shake and my drawers fall open, completely susceptible to Mother Nature's wakeup call.
When the shaking stopped, I threw on my robe, bolted downstairs to my parents room, observing all of our hanging light fixtures eerily swaying above me, and made sure everyone else was alright. Not five minutes later, our phones shot off alerts of a tsunami warning.
Emergency Alert: Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland. Listen to local news.
If the massive earthquake itself didn't scare me, this notification sure did.
The next few hours were spent in high alert. The local weather channel had the Kenai Peninsula in red warning and it continued to encourage people to go to high ground. Remember the quake of '64? Well, the most devastating effect that earthquake had on Alaska was the ensuing tsunami that wiped out the coast.
Could my night that began so normally watching Teen Wolf end with the possibility of a devastating tsunami?
To calm my nerves, I stepped outside to take a breather and was beyond shocked to see that it was snowing.
Big, luscious flakes floated down from the sky, casting an idyllic scene surrounding and in that moment, I couldn't fathom how we had just gone through a 7.9 earthquake and were awaiting news about a possible tsunami.
Remember juxtaposition? Perfect example of it.
How Alaska's weather could simultaneously exhibit peaceful snow and a petrifying earthquake is beyond me, but she manages to do it.
Luckily, it was the snow that won that night because when I did eventually fall asleep some four hours later, I woke to news that the tsunami warning had been cancelled, peace had won.
In moments like those, I found that life can change in the matter of minutes. There were times during the wee hours of that morning of the 23rd that I looked around at my house and could realistically picture evacuating it, saying goodbye to it for the last time and that thought really hit me hard.
One must never underestimate the power of Mother Nature, but one must also remember to appreciate her beauty when she isn't out to rock the house and shake the earth.
Like today, she decided to bless us with a beautiful Winter Wonderland scene, but keep the temperatures below zero, making one's hair freeze if one dared venture into the outdoors.
Beautiful, yet fur-ightful, Alaska's juxtaposing weather can be.