the money tree & the ticking clock

Mist dancing on the ice covered lake in the evening. Korvala, Finland
Mist dancing on the ice-covered lake at dusk. Korvala, Finland

The First of April, the Day of Fools, triggered my external Travel Clock. I can barely hear the T-Clock ticking right now, but I’m aware of its existence out there, somewhere, slowly tocking, currently muffled by the thick, plush safety blanket made of cash-money. It’s hard to predict where or when the alarm will sound, rudely awakening me from this dream of travel, this escape into other worlds, but I know it will sound, forcing me back to reality.

April 1st marks the first month my bank account didn’t see its regular reassuring monthly bump, a direct benefit from having steady, reassuring employment for eight years. The first month I refreshed my Mint account, only to be reminded by the red Cash Flow bar, that I had earned $0, a direct result from complete and utter unemployment; in a few months, my net income bar graph will be cringeworthy. I’ve had some sort of job, some source of income, since I was 15, but this April I began plucking leaves from the money tree that won’t sprout new leaves this spring. When the last leaf falls, the tree will die, and I will return home to plant a new one with renewed energy.

Over the 18 months I planned for this journey, I always thought of it as a “break” from Life. Two nights ago I was walking back to my cabin from a late night sauna, on my way to feed the T puppies, and give a good cuddle to Ivan, our nightly indoor husky/my bed buddy, temporarily sleeping in his kennel because little Nuchikin just lost his balls and needed some indoor recovery and supervision. Apparently losing your masculine bits really puts you on the defensive and he felt quite threatened by Ivan (also without balls). I’m not familiar with balls, but I am sure anyone in possession of them can relate to Nuchi and how losing them might make you feel.

As I stepped out of the sauna changing room, the night was aglow with hard white snow, a faint blue tint where the sun set hours ago. My boots crunched quietly along as I made my way toward the kennel, my body still flushed from the steamy room of magic, the slight breeze a welcoming refreshment to my face. I closed my eyes and inhaled that cold, clean air smell, a scent only people who love the wintry outdoors know well, and saw so much more than the darkness of my eyelids.

At that moment, I saw the mindset that I’m simply taking a break from life dissolve, and I came face-to-face with the realization that this is no break. Just Life.

And the T-Clock went silent.

IMG_8103
I am the blue dot.
Eemil, putting my downward facing dog to shame.
Eemil, putting my downward facing dog to shame.
Lunch break during a 40K run, me and Amy. Photo by Alfie.
Lunch break during a 40K run, me and Amy. Photo by Alfie.
my shadow, driving a sled
my shadow, driving a sled
Jaana's leads, Flame and Hÿrra, setting an example of how to wait on the line.
Jaana’s leads, Flame and Hÿrra, setting an example of how to wait on the line.
IMG_1400
making reindeer friends (and apologizing for eating her family). Photo by Amy.
My team from the front: Hiutale, Sievä,
My team from the front: Hiutale, Sievä, Julja, Jompa, Seemi and Sirius. Thanks to Mel for the action shot.
My team from behind.
My team from behind.
Meet Nuchikin. Or Nuchi. Or Nuch.
Meet Nuchikin. Or Nuchi. Or Nuch. Photo cred: Amy

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