I’ve been online shopping.

Specifically, I’ve been fixated on merino wool base layers on Amazon. Researching sizes, the best weave weight, which tops will work both as under and outer wear, what brands won’t pill. I’ve found some that are half price! With free shipping!

And in the seven days since I’ve been home I’ve already made four lengthy visits to Value Village, a.k.a. second-hand clothing paradise.

I’ve also gone to Costco, to Chapters, to Sears, to the giant new Canadian Tire, to the outdoor gear store, back to the outdoor gear store, to the army surplus.

A week ago I was shacked up in a powerless, waterless cabin 45 minutes from Whitehorse, reading a paperback I picked up at the freestore, wearing whatever else I had found at the freestore, listening to CBC 2 on a battery-powered radio. Now I’m living in a house with unlimited internet access 10 minutes from a chain store mecca. Everything is suddenly everywhere – and everything is suddenly affordable.

Things like: winter socks, thick wool jackets, brown wide-brim wool rain hats, merino pullovers, insulated neoprene boots, fitted black jeans, most of these with price tags under $20.

I am surrounded by countless inexpensive versions of the exact material items that continually evaded my limited-income grasp in the Yukon.

I’m overwhelmed. I’m reverting to a former version of myself, one who had to set strict rules for herself to overcome her inclination to buy everything she saw and wanted.

But much as I’ve been totally taken by the land of plenty, there appears to be another force gripping my wallet and pulling everything out of it.  

Winter.

I seem to have this idea that it is coming. Around the corner. I mean, it snowed in the Yukon in August. The wood stove’s been running two months already. And I want to be warm this year. I want the expensive long johns that keep me toasty, I want a giant hood trimmed with fur. I might spend $50 on a merino tank top so that everything I wear can feel like a warm second skin made of wool.

Except, wait, it was 19 degrees and sunny today. Most of the clothes I brought with me from the Yukon I can’t even wear without sweating. The seasonal Dairy Queen is still open. The leaves on the trees are still green.

My mom picked me up from the airport in sandals. While trying on a winter coat at Value Village the other day, a man walked past wearing shorts and a t-shirt.   

I wake in the morning and pull thick tights over my legs, choose a long sweater to wear over an undershirt, throw on a jacket at the door as I leash my dog. I return from our walk stripped to the essential layers, drenched and sticky.

It’s like I just don’t get it. It’s kind of still summer here.