Alaska Seasons


From My brother in Alaska. Posted by Jeanne Devon <http://www.themudflats.net/archives/author/jeanne-devon

 Alaska doesn’t really have a springtime. We have 3 1/4 seasons. Summer, Aut…, Winter, and Breakup. In other parts of the country, Aut is referred to as “Autumn,” but here it doesn’t last long enough. One day the leaves are green, the next day they are brown, the next day there is a wind and they blow away, and then there is snow. For seven months. And finally, we have Breakup.

Breakup is reserved for the time most other places call “Spring.” After seven months of snow accumulation, when temperatures finally reach the point above which water freezes, we realize that winter has consequences. As the snow melts, things… show up. And I’m not talking about crocuses, or snowdrops, or bunny rabbits. I’m talking about everything that’s been dropped, dumped, blown off the back of a truck, or otherwise found its way into the ever-accumulating snow pile, which hides these things and gives Alaska that pristine “winter wonderland” vibe.

The melt is like a time lapse photo series of an archaeological dig. Artifacts emerge daily as the months of precipitation disappear from the top down – fast food wrappers, pants, window blinds, lumpy things wrapped in tarps, remnants of birds, styrofoam takeout packages, former cardboard boxes, building supplies, moose poop, small household furnishings, and even the occasional body. All these things are very waterlogged and unpleasant. And when the roads dry off, and the Chinook winds strike, all the sand and gravel and dirt blow up in huge choking clouds that settle on the wet things, turning them various shades of grey, brown, and ick.

To be fair, this is the experience of a populated area. What about the rest?  All that nature-y stuff?  That’s the part  that sits for weeks on end in stagnant meltwater and mud.

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