I have lost all concept of time since I have been out on the trail. As I was speaking with William, my snowmachine taxi to and from the airport, neither of us could remember what day I came in. William then made a comment that makes so much sense. He said, “we don’t really worry about time out here, but in the city everything is so fast.” On my flight to Unalakleet I thought about William’s comment.
Back home it seems people are always concerned about what time it is. Everyone is always in a hurry to get to the next place. People are in a hurry to get to appointments, practices, movies, events, dinners, work, anywhere. It seems we worry about getting to the next appointment rather than savor the moment we are in. As I am in each checkpoint enjoying and soaking in the new friendships, I am forgetting there is even a race going on. I have said many times in postings this year, this is more than a race. I am really starting to understand this race is about relationships. It is like a big family on the trail. The mushers have their own family, they care more about each other than they care for themselves. I have heard many mushers asking about others that are behind them, asking if they are doing ok. The volunteers haven’t seen each other since last year and they pick up right where they left off. The pilots, vets, villagers, anyone involved in the race share a sense of family.
When I am home following the race I am constantly refreshing the GPS tracker and checking the race standings. Now I am in the middle of the race and I honestly don’t know who is leading. I am reveling in the conversations I am having with villagers, students, teachers, and other volunteers. The stories they have to tell are incredible. Time seems to stand still during these grand stories.
When I arrived in Unalakleet there was another conversation about time. Brittany Hansen, Iditarod AirForce Load Coordinator, simply said, “time is time.” She went on to say that the sun is a major factor in many things in Alaska. When the sun rises and sets effects the temperature, it effects what you can do, when you sleep, where you go. When the sun sets, the Iditarod Air Force comes to a halt, no flying in the dark. When the sun sets, the temperature drops significantly. When the sun sets, the streets become ghostly quiet. The sun tells villagers a change in weather may be coming. Parts of the year witness the sun the entire day and other parts of the year experience darkness the entire day.
Before time gets away from you, slow down. Test yourself, see if you can not schedule so many things in your life. Enjoy the small things, enjoy your friends, enjoy your family, enjoy the time you are in. Try not to hurry up to the next appointment on your schedule. Before you know it, time will be gone.