Posted by Arlo on Apr 20, 2007 under Life of Arlo

I really need to wash my carWhen you live in Alaska, spring is a special time of year.  Not as dripping with awesomesauce as summer with its 18-hours of daylight, but leaving winter behind is always worth celebrating.

We mark the beginning of spring with the Vernal Equinox on March 21 (interestingly, Russians mark it less scientifically with an arbitrary calendar date, March 1), but I take great joy in noticing the more visual milestones.  For instance, when:

  • The ice on Auke Lake begins to break up.
  • The last, dirty, snowplowed pile of snow finally melts away (which will be a long time coming this year after our recording-breaking 16 feet of snow!)
  • The sun’s up before I go to, and after I get off of work.
  • Birds sing in the early morning.
  • Skunk cabbage pokes its yellow-green sprouts out of every wet drainage ditch.
  • Bears wake from hibernation and get back to the business of spreading our garbage through our yards.
  • By lunchtime, the interior of my Jeep has been warmed by the sun.
  • My Jeep no longer needs studded tires, nor its windows scraped every morning.
  • I step outside and can feel the warmth of the sun on my face.
  • Fireweed sends up its stalks and starts the purple timers that will mark the length of summer. 
  • Sunny days in winter are welcome, but the lack of any insulating cloud cover means the sun has no real warmth.  For me, spring ends — and summer begins — on that magical, arbitrary day when “sunny and clear” actually means that the air will be warmer than on overcast days.

    That hasn’t happened yet, but I think it’ll be any day now.