Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So How Is It Going, Weatherwise, In Alaska

I just put up a story about how it's going this year in the southern hemisphere, badly, it's terrible cold. So how is it going up by the Arctic, where the ice is going to melt this year, haven't you heard.

If you blinked, you missed it.

I’m referring to “summer” in Fairbanks.

You remember summer, don’t you? There was this bright, round, yellow orb called the sun that used to come out, sometimes for days at a time instead of minutes.

We used to have to water our gardens and put sun block on our children. We wore short-sleeve shirts instead of polar fleece.

Summer is supposed to be the reward we in Fairbanks get for enduring winter. It is a brief respite from the dark and cold that envelopes us for more than half the year. It is escape from the snow, ice and ice fog. For two months of the year — OK, maybe three — we don’t have to worry about plugging in our vehicles, fetching firewood, stoking the woodstove, pushing snow, having our pipes freeze and dressing in layers.

Summer is the only thing that keeps some of us here. It is a light at the end of tunnel, so to speak. Six weeks of warm weather is enough to make up for six months of cold. A week in the sun is worth a month in the dark. All it takes is one 80-degree day to erase memories of all those 40-below nights.

You know it’s been a bummer of a summer when:

• You can’t remember the last time you watered your garden.

• You’ve already burned half the firewood supply you put up for the winter.

• You’ve worn long underwear more than you have worn shorts.

• You stop collecting rainwater because you run out of barrels, buckets and pails to put it in.

• You can actually keep up with your zucchini and the ones you’re picking are only the size of your finger, not your thigh.

• You don’t get any consolation out of the fact that Anchorage has had it worse than us.

Planetary emergency, it's cold, everywhere.

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