OK. I’m violating my promise to myself: no Internet on Sundays. Sundays are my chill days. I thought I wanted to go to the Holiday Market today at the Carlson Center, so I came to my office to get a map and some info. I took one look at the map and the number of vendors and decided I didn’t want to go holiday shopping after all.

So, while I’m here, I’m writing a quick blog post.

In Fairbanks, I’ve established a nice Sunday ritual: listen to KUAC programming: “On the Media,” “Weekend Edition” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”

On the top of the hour, the announcer states the time of sunrise and sunset and note the amount of daylight. Today is six and change hours of daylight. Then the announcer shares how fewer minutes we’ll have tomorrow. Something like six minutes and 34 seconds tomorrow.

It’s a countdown to darkness, apparently.

Then I clean. I write. I read.

Cleaning has many variations on its theme. I sweep the floors in my cabin. I carry in wood and stack a supply next to the wood stove. Then I need to sweep again because I’ve tracked in more dirt. I do laundry.

I find these rituals incredibly soothing and satisfying. Something like the Amy’s Mac and Cheese (a true comfort food, as it’s pitched) that I’ve developed a taste for since I’ve moved to Fairbanks.

Lately I’ve been reading about weather, the winter months in dwindling light and arctic survival. It’s not soothing, yet it is sensible. I’m plenty experienced in desert and jungle environments. And I always had a tough time in the Oregon winters, which are milder in many ways yet also dark, blanketed by heavy, gray clouds for weeks at a time.

The literature–and my new friends and colleagues–all strongly suggest getting outside and getting sun on my face. Get it while the gettin’s good. A key to sanity and survival it seems.

I take that to heart, so yesterday I went for an eight-mile hike. Today, I shoveled the snow from my driveway. Exercise, fresh air and sun on my face.

I called a bunch of friends in the lower 48 to brag about my snow shoveling prowess and my glee at my accomplishment. (I got voice mail every time.) I called Oregon and Washington.

I called Texas where it’s in the 60’s and I know my folks played golf today (there’s something to brag about.)

Gosh, in the time I’ve been here, the sky has darkened. The sun, although I can’t see it, has probably set. Time to head home and stoke the fire, heat some mac and cheese and curl up with a good book.

Sun Day indeed.