I had been told moving up here that the phrase “weather permitting” would become a huge part of my life. Within the first twenty-four hours, it had already become a part of my speech. I wasn’t going to be able to get into my village because it was too windy and the visibility wasn’t great. That would have meant another night a local Air B&B and the hopes that my plane would take off the next day. My plane wasn’t cancelled and everything ended up playing out as planned. Yet, that was my first taste of “maybe, maybe not”.
Bush planes do not travel when the weather is rough. Sometimes if the wind is coming from the right direction, you’ll still be able to land, but they won’t fly with low visibility, storms, extremely low temperatures, or too much wind. As a passenger, I appreciate this, mostly because I don’t want to die. I’m pretty sure that we even have built in “travel delay” days to our teacher leave time, just in case weather doesn’t permit us to fly in.
This isn’t such a big deal for someone who doesn’t have the time or the money to travel every weekend…or so I thought. Except, if the planes can’t get in, neither can the mail or the supplies. I’m sure I have boxes upon boxes of supplies sitting at the post office in a different village, just waiting to come in on a later flight. In fact, the UPS (aka Amazon shipment) plane came on Thursday for the first time in over a week and the school hallway was full of teachers’ packages!
A few coworkers and my principal were at a professional development conference in Anchorage and as they tried to get back to our village, no flights were coming in. We had been hit by a thick frost and a thicker fog.
Some visiting music teachers were meant to have their instruments shipped out on a later flight, but after sitting around waiting to learn if flights would be coming in, we learned there was too little visibility.
I’ve even seen some people pull up an app on their computers/smart phones that tells the visibility and possibility of travel around the airstrips in the area. I had never put that much thought into flights before.
Here’s praying for decent weather when shipments are needed and traveling mercies always.