Change is in the air: sunshine above, ice and slush below, the buds swelling and the birds beginning to stir.
Today the Christian community celebrates Christ's Resurrection, the central mystery of the faith and the birth of the Christian Church. Friday, in contrast, marked the anniversary of the Crucifixion. Wednesday, Jews observed the start of Passover, commemorating events that culminated in the Exodus from Egypt and the founding of Israel. The past week also saw Alaska's anniversaries of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and the 1867 treaty transferring the land from Russian to American control. Whew!
This year these events take on particular resonance as I find my own life beset with changes.
Last weekend a "for sale" sign appeared at the end of my driveway, and I feel a pang in my heart every time I pass it. With spring, my pending move and all the melancholy of leaving the Kenai Peninsula draw nearer. I find myself already plotting numerous reasons to "come visit" in the coming months.
Great things are coming to an end: 20 years on the peninsula, my career as a full-time mom and my term as a Clarion reporter.
But painful as those changes might be, I have to take a lesson from Easter and from the bright high school seniors I deal with through this job: Don't dwell on the loss, dwell on the new possibilities ahead.
My daughters are moving out into the larger world as competent young women who make me proud.
Moving to Fairbanks is scary, but it is a town full of opportunities. I will explore the Interior's rich natural and historical landscape, the state's largest library and the university. It may be my big chance to see more of the aurora borealis and to visit the North Slope and the Brooks Range.
Leaving my job and its more-or-less steady paycheck involves a leap of faith of sorts. Do I have the chops to make it as a freelance writer? Can I finish the revisions and sell my novel that has been languishing on my desk for the six years I have been your reporter? Time will tell, but my head is bursting with ideas for book projects and magazine articles.
In the meantime, the weeks ahead will be crammed with projects at the Clarion and at home. We are about to embark on that most severe form of spring cleaning: pack up and move out. It won't be easy, and it won't be fun.
But I will try to look at it as an awkward "breakup" season in my life, a temporary cross to bear on the way to something better.
In some ways the whole nation is in this boat with me following the traumas of Sept. 11. Grim unfinished business looms: Where is bin Laden? Who was the anthrax saboteur? What can we do to help the poor and oppressed of places like Afghanistan shake off the tyranny of violent fanatics? The United States has been working on its own resurrection, rediscovering national treasures such as brotherhood, compassion, patience and resolve.
To all of you out there going through transitions and hard times, I send my best wishes. On this Easter morning, may you set aside whatever personal crown of thorns you wear, feel the world's potential for miracles and find something to warm your heart, whether it be a pussy willow, a joyous church festival or a chocolate bunny of your very own.
God bless you all.
Shana Loshbaugh is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.
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