Darkness my old friend. A winter solstice reflection
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-19794,single-format-standard,bridge-core-3.1.1,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-30.0.1,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.4,vc_responsive

Darkness my old friend

By the staff

Suzanne seeking light while she can get it. Photo by Jimmy.

Winter in Alaska brings darkness of various kinds and duration, depending on how far north you live and on human-made light, the moon, the Northern Lights, the stars and clouds and weather. 

This month we asked folks at Trustees what they love about the dark. It should come as no surprise that almost every response involved a reflection on light.  

The quest for light: Suzanne Bostrom, senior staff attorney

I really struggle with the darkness but look forward to and count down the days until the snow arrives and brings a different kind of light back to our winter-y world. For me, it is all about seeking out what light we have to drive the darkness away – whether during the limited daylight hours or through the light that reflects off the freshly fallen snow at night. 

Selfie of Vicki wearing her light goggles.

Light goggles rock: Vicki Clark, executive director 

Hello Darkness. You always come with beauty and mystery. Snow so bright when the moon is full. Showing off with aurora. And yet, I also get a lot more sleep and have trouble getting up in the morning for a few months. And for that, I am loving my new light goggles for a pick-me-up in the morning—along with coffee, of course. So, we can remain friends. 😉 

 All eyes to the sky: Geoff Toy, legal fellow 

 When I came to Alaska, I discovered that winter here is a time of incredible beauty to be appreciated both during the daylight hours and during the dark. Seeing the spectacle of the Northern Lights reminds me that we’re very small creatures on a very big world.  

I’ve gotten used to regularly checking the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Aurora Forecast (https://www.gi.alaska.edu/monitors/aurora-forecast). It’s interesting that eve

An aurora sighting 2023. Photo by Geoff Toy

n when we can’t see the lights in Anchorage, they’re out somewhere. Similarly, sometimes being a public interest lawyer can be discouraging, and it feels like the world faces so many problems that we can’t fix. But even when we can’t see it happening, it’s encouraging to know that we’re part of a vast community of people who care deeply about the world and are working to solve those challenges.  


Houselights in darkness. Photo by Joanna Canon

The joy of house lights: Joanna Cahoon, staff attorney

I love going for walks in the dark and seeing all the lights!  




Moon gazing: Siobhan McIntyre, staff attorney

Moon gazing Gazing at the morning moon on a walk with Morning moon gazing with Alaska husky, Lumi. Photo by Siobhan McIntyre

Like most Alaskans, I revel in the endless, exuberant daylight hours of our northern summer. But I also harbor a deep fondest for the depths – and darkness – of winter.  I love the studious quiet of the dark morning hours, sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee and reading the news or digging into a project. I love the peaceful quiet of the 10 am dawn, walking with the dog and gazing at the setting moon. Most of all, I love how winter’s darkness lets me appreciate the light – the warmth and comfort of friends and family by the fire in the winter and the anticipation of the expanding light in spring.  

NOTE: (Photo: Gazing at the morning moon on a walk with Alaskan husky, Lumi (photo by Siobhan McIntyre)) 

Winter walks and water ouzels: Tracy Lohman, development director 

Admittedly, after 34 years, the winters seem longer as the days grow shorter. Yet, winter walks are my

Photo by Tracy Lohman

way of energizing. Even a short romp through the nearby woods

Photo by Tracy Lohman

brightens even the darkest days. The best days are the coldest when the sky is its bluest. And if you stand still for a bit, you never know who you will see taking a dip in the frigid waters. The water ouzel is my favorite bird. 


Joan Jett in an afternoon sunset. Photo by Bridget Psarianos

Afternoon sunsets: Bridget Psarianos, senior staff attorney

One thing I like about winter’s darkness is that we can enjoy beautiful sunset views in the late afternoon while out skiing or enjoying the snow, and still have plenty of time to get home to make dinner! 



A sense of whirling in a snowy tree scape.

Photo by Dawnell Smith, December 2023

Squee! Dawnell Smith, communications director 

The dark brings a different kind of light—moonlight, starlight, Northern Lights, the sky glow of artificial lights bouncing off clouds, dog collar lights, headlamps, bonfires, the lights from people’s phones. All this light framed in darkness engages our peripheral vision and transforms the world into black and white–with all the fuzzy hues of gray where our minds fill in the blank with stories of what we can’t see or maybe we do see…or maybe, there in the trees, do you see it?

I love the experience of landscape and movement in the dark, the disorientation of skiing, running, biking, walking along a barely revealed path with my imaginings on edge. Squee!