If our weather has been unusual this year, it normalized on the first of the month. Our hot, sunny, calm June turned into a cooler, cloudy, windy July, with plenty of rain showers.
The two holidays that produce the most weather anxiety are Independence Day and Christmas. Christmases ought to be white (see A Winter Wonderland – Southeast Alaska Style) and Independence Days should be sunny.
Haines observes a good old fashioned Fourth of July, with parade, food, community games, and fireworks (see There’s No Place Quite Like Small Town Alaska for the Fourth of July). As Southeast Alaskans, we don’t require fair weather for these activities, but it certainly makes them more enjoyable.
A normal Fourth of July in Haines seems to be mostly- to partly-cloudy; there’s almost always rain and high winds in the days leading up to it. The morning of the Fourth generally includes showers, which give way to grudging, gray overcast about 11:00, parade time. Cheers mingle with many sighs of relief as the procession passes. After that, the weather slowly, sporadically improves. By mid-afternoon, the height of the community field games, it’s pretty hot and muggy. It becomes uncomfortable to wear the warmer clothing everyone wore against the weather. People lug unwanted coats, sweaters, and sweatshirts around with them as they celebrate. Concern that the kids competing in the mud volleyball pit will die of pneumonia morphs to concern they might have heat stroke.
After the games, the weather continues to flirt with poor conditions right up until the fireworks at 11:00 p.m.
This seems to be the annual pattern. We saw it yesterday. The difference is, this year, it didn’t matter to us.
We did not participate in the Independence Day celebrations this year.
I’m not sure exactly why this happened. We just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm for it, maybe because Aly isn’t here. I went to town with Michelle on the 3rd to sign books for tourists at my friends’ store. Perhaps that filled my quota for public interaction for the week.
Moreover, our Independence Day timing stinks. We’re almost always late. Often this is because of tides, but not entirely. I’m always searching for a parking space while the parade’s under way. Then, we have the delimma of what to do in the long period between the end of the field games and the fireworks. This time period is slowly filling up: for the last few years an outdoor music festival on the Fort Seward parade grounds has entertained for a few hours before the fireworks. Even so, it’s too long to hang around, not long enough to go home and come back. Even “sheltering” with friends in the interim can be problematic for that long.
When we got home the evening of the 3rd, we found a note from visitors we’d missed. We have no way of contacting them. We thought they might come out the next day. That pushed us over the home side of the fence, as it were.
We had a glorious Fourth on our own. We made our own party of it, we got a lot of work done, we relaxed, and recreated. Aly called in the evening, and we got to hear about her week at the camp where she works.
We also watched the weather. Traditions are hard to break, after all. Noticing all the signs of a classic Haines Independence Day weather pattern, I really enjoyed not feeling any anxiety over what might happen next. It was . . . well, liberating.