Snow-frosted birch trees ring my cabin. Today, winter solstice, they reminded me of a choir.

This morning I woke and turned on my shortwave radio, tuned, as always, to KUAC, the local public radio station.

I listened to the morning news as I baked cookies, a holiday tradition. (the baking, not the news) I’d already made chocolate chip cookies and my grandma’s fabulous nut chews. I was working on Mrs. Allen’s Oatmeal Coconut Crisps to complete my offerings.

Usually, I turn the radio off at 9 a.m., when PRI‘s “Here and Now” concludes and the show with classical music begins. This morning the station featured Christmas music, so I kept it on, in keeping with the festive mood in my kitchen and cabin. They played the first part of Handel’s “Messiah,” (The Christmas Story, the announcer said.) The irresistible “Hallelujah Chorus” crowned the performance. I donned my Sorel boots, my red puff jacket, grabbed the radio and ran outside.

The glory of the song, the grace of the birch trees and the glitter of the snow moved me.

I put the radio on the hood of the car, turned up the volume and skipped through the snow to the open space in front of my cabin. I threw my arms up in the air, faced the forest and began singing out loud, waving my arms and conducting the choir of birch trees.

Happy Solstice! Hallelujah!


Talk of Alaska