Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring in Anchorage OR: A Molting, Melting City

Alaska's Wheel Of The Year
There are dozens of variations on the sentiment that Alaska has different seasons than the continental U.S.; most classically described as Winter, More Winter, Break-Up, and Construction. We are now in Break-Up, the saddest-sounding season of them all. Initially of course I thought this referred to the ice melting and breaking down, but now that Scimon has totted up three separate couples he knew that have now broken up in the last month, I might need to revise my mental estimation of this pseudo-season. This reflects our new tendency to only hang out with couples -- Spring is a time for new romance, as the same impetus that stirs the sap in the trees to pump up all those trunks propels all us mammals to find a honey, but this only good for singles. If you're already in a relationship, finding new love precludes the old...Unless you're really alternative...But otherwise just sucks for the dumpee.
Lovely sunshine pours down onto a nasty gray city

The look of the town reflects these poor souls' sentiments -- it is a world of nasty browns and grays up here right now, folks. As the snow melts it leaves behind its silt and grit, and the dog walkers of the past Winter (and More Winter) are revealed to have been less than diligent as our fluffy white cover recedes.

Allergies are beginning; Honey Bunny's mom is home with a 'head stuffed with gunk' today -- her words -- This means there's enough things in the world that are not-snow that allergies are possible. Which is like Spring, I guess. Woo!

Is it ice? Is it snow? It is both, plus
dirt and trash; icesnow!
The sun is warm and the skies are blue, but down on earth the funk runs rampant, trash and dirt and weird half-melted icesnow. (It's a real thing, trust me.) Plowing snow in the city is actually plowing garbage you won't know about 'til break-up, as I've learned in the past few years -- and GUESS WHERE OUR STREET'S PLOWING GOES? That's right. Into our poor yard. Which has been a ton of fun to listen to morning, noon and night for the past Winter (AND MORE Winter!) I assure you -- but now we get to find the detritus of a hundred negligent thoughtless acts of litter in our sad little green patch. Wheeeeeee.
I see you, snowplow man!
Don't think I don't

This is an awkward, liminal (see def. 3) time for Anchorage -- it's definitely not Summer, or even what I've heard Spring should be*, but neither is it really an Alaskan Winter anymore. One of my fellow interns said he walked to work yesterday in nothing but his shirt -- no jacket! He's born-and-raised Alaskan, and therefore insane (see jumping-the-gun Alaskan Summer phenomenon in this entry) but to have willingly walked outside for farther than car-to-building is a testament to the temperature lightening up -- and without a jacket on top of that means the end of Winter (AND YET MORE WINTER**) for realsies.

Molting, melting Alaska
It's like molting for birds -- it's ugly, necessary, and means that shortly they will be as beautiful as they can possibly be, as brand-new plumage comes in clean and shiny. Soon there will be Frisbee-ers at the dog parks, and young women in next to nothing, and young men walking around holding large things in front of themselves awkwardly as a result. And while no one will overtly tan in public -- which is considered somehow too licentious, or hedonistic, or something, for these poor fools -- there will be people hanging around on folding chairs not seeming to do very much at all, which is as close as it gets. And I'm SO ready!
**I'm cracking myself up with this. Sorry.


  1. Um, please describe what "young women in next to nothing" is because I only see parkas. I have old school Alaska vision.

  2. Ha!
    In the summer, girls wear the skimpy fashions common in places like Southern California -- the mini jean skirts, the low-cut spaghetti-strap tank tops, etc -- but imagine if you will an entire YEAR of temperature-enforced modesty as foreplay to this event; it causes quite a few accidents in males...and some females. :)