The harbingers of spring in Alaska are the the first wave of mosquitoes; the big, slow kind with the "Five o-clock Charley" engine noises, bugs capable of carrying small animals away, too large for a nostril or ear canal, too slow and clumsy to actually bite a living person, unless that person is exhausted unconscious from fourteen hour yard work stints. I have three bites. I've lost seven pounds. The bites must contribute to muscle soreness as well, because no body part isn't complaining after lazing through a long cold winter, then mustering of a sudden to rake, prune, bag and build well into the sunny night.
- We set heat records this weekend. Wag tongued dogs and rake-blistered old guys were sweating to the sixties. Laugh, you desert rats, but after thirty below zero just weeks back, upper sixty temps are downright balmy. My skin is, well, not tan, but a less sickly shade of pale. Perhaps because last year summer was a damp dreary disappointment, or because this spring sprung so quickly, it seems to me Alaskans are frenetic this year pursuing summer. The streets aren't swept of pea gravel, yet motorcycles are everywhere. I saw a young man in the service commuting to his job on a new red Ducati, his buzz cut peeking from beneath his tapered shades and doo-rag, a high visibility lime green vest worn over camouflage fatigues. Neighborhoodlums are skateboarding in fat shorts, neon crocs, and tank tops after midnight. Boats are out of storage, polished and ready for the last of the river ice to disappear. Mountain bikes, roller blades, convertibles, and thatch-filled bags litter lawns that were only days ago covered with snow. The ground was too frozen to dig just two weeks ago when I wanted to repair a section of fence. Today my grass is exploding into green. The birch buds are popping and the gray willow pillows adorn the trees. My cute neighbor lady has bought her spectacular flower baskets, but still takes them in at night. The small birds are flittering their mating songs and dances. The large migrations of geese and eagles are just starting to appear. The swallows are swooping and feasting. The bears are already destroying the bird feeders of those slow to bring them in.
- Spring is the time of youth and energy, growth and fertility. Spring is like this post; shooting off in a hundred tangents, full of hope, full of promise. But Spring is also when I most miss my kids. I miss the portraits in Easter dresses under the blooming fruit trees. I miss the first outdoor swimsuits of the season. I miss the little dirty hand prints over just planted seeds in the black soil. I remember children and dogs rolling in the fine new grass, and the
Good Lord! Was I working graveyards when I wrote this or what?