Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Homer News reporter smells snow - and gets the surprise of a lifetime.

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the most since moving to Alaska?

Snow! I love snow.

Driving in it? OK, maybe not too much. But I have been so excited for it to finally snow and for the associated warm feelings of the holiday season to arrive. You know the excitement you feel when watching the end of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” when they raise the backdrop to reveal it’s snowing for the first time that season? That’s the feeling I look forward to the most each winter when it snows.

We never got much snow in West Tennessee. Mostly ice and maybe an inch of snow a winter, but when it flurried, you could always find me sitting with a cup of coffee in front of the window watching it fall. Funnily enough, that’s where my editor found me a few weeks ago when it snowed here before Halloween: perched on the counter in our office by the window, watching it come down.

To be honest, I am a rather impatient person. I thought once I moved to Alaska I wouldn’t have to wait for snow anymore, but Homer’s temperate climate proved my assumptions to be wrong.

About two weeks ago, I got tired of waiting for nature to get with the program, so my partner and I loaded up in our car and headed north to Kenai. We were in desperate need of a grocery shopping trip anyway. Seeing the Peninsula Clarion reporters’ photos of snow-capped trees and giant flakes falling was giving me a strong sense of FOMO, and I wanted to be a part of the fun.

With every mile that we left Homer in our rearview mirror, more and more snow was steadily building on the ground. By the time we got to Kasilof, Michael was tired of hearing me say, “Wow, look at all the snow!” But being the patient one of our duo, he continued to let me stare in awe as we passed beautiful trees, fields and lakes covered in white.

On the way up, Michael suggested that we get our fill of snow before having to go back home. He recommended a short hike at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. We talk about stopping there every time we pass through, but we always get distracted and forget. Not today though; Michael was determined.

As we turned on Ski Hill Road, it was like we had pulled onto a set for a Hallmark Christmas movie, with snow completely covering the road and trees, leading us to our destination. Little did I know what that destination had in store for Michael and me, but I was just happy to be along for the adventure.

We settled on the Keen-Eye Nature Trail, and as we started down the snow-covered path to Headquarters Lake, all I could think of was the first time I came to Alaska a year ago. It was just as snowy then, and while I was obsessed with the view, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to stay upright.

Now that Alaska looked like it did the first time I visited and fell in love, I was still just as worried about falling. Michael kept a good grip on my hand, though, making sure I was safe with each step, like he had our entire relationship. If I went down, at least he would be coming with me.

As we made our final turn on the boardwalk and the lake spread out in front of us, ironically enough, I wasn’t the one who ended up on the ground. Michael was.

And he was down on one knee with a ring in his hand.

He knew I loved snow.

Reach Sarah Knapp at sarah.knapp@homernews.com.