The Tide Turns

By , May 9, 2013

The transition seems as abrupt as the flipping of a switch.

On April 30th, on my way to town, I saw a sight in a neighbor’s front yard that inspired me to write Haiku:

Forlorn but hopeful
New grow boxes in the snow
May in Alaska

On that day, our Alaskan summer seemed beyond reach. A few days later, temperatures have warmed to the low 60s. The air, softening daily, carries the scent of alder and willow buds. The herring have gathered in small but visible shoals. Humpback whales roll and lunge in our “homestead’s” bight. Hummingbirds dogfight for control of our feeders and flash their tails in mating dances. I saw a plump Swainson’s thrush foraging in our wind break the other day, and that evening its song echoed in the forest. Common loons call from the fjord.

On a more practical level, we’ve gone without a fire in the cabin wood stove the last few days. The firewood I cut and haul each day has begun to accumulate rather than simply replace what is used.

The tide has turned.

Undoubtably there will be cold days ahead, days when we will huddle inside, watching amazed as our seemingly delicate feathered neighbors struggle against the gale to forage. But those will be exceptions, rather than the norm. Inevitably, we will move steadily toward the Summer Solstice. The cycle seemed broken, but continues, nevertheless. It gives us hope, and no little relief.

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