09 June 2015

It's That Time of Year

when the sun doesn't get too far away. Lots and LOTS of daylight. According to Weather Underground, we'll have 22 hours, 55 minutes of visible light today.

Nevertheless, it's also a typical June, daytime temps varying from low 50s to the mid-70s, depending on cloud cover. Lots of scattered rain showers, but more than a few sunny days, too.

I wish everyone could visit Anchorage twice: once in June, when we're practically buried under the lush greenery of early summer - and again in January, when it's typically cold (-25°, anyone?) and snowy. The contrasts are startling, to say the least.

Winter in Alaska has a beauty all its own, as the snow smooths the mountains and the trees sparkle with frost. And one other thing: after the leaves have fallen, and the grass turns brown, we look forward to snowfall to cover it all up, and make things pretty and white.

And what can I say about summer?

The change can be startling.  At least in this part of Alaska, we don't really have "Spring": we go from snow, to melting snow/mud/flooding of streams and rivers/ice jams. Lots of mud. Everything stays gray or brown for what seems a very long time.

And then the buds appear on branches, and just hang there for several weeks. Then without warning, they open. Foliage turns green - sometimes slowly, sometimes in just two or three days - and then keeps getting thicker ... and thicker.

And thicker.

It's as if the grass and trees know that the growing season is shorter here, and they produce prodigious amounts of greenery, to compensate.

After so many months of bare branches, and the resultant wide-open lines of sight, it feels ... well, almost claustrophobic.

But after this past winter, when we got very little snow, it's nice to have color again.

No comments: