Monday, March 26, 2007

Signs of spring 2

March snowfall: 92 inches
Season to date: 244.6

Today has been a day of weather contrasts. Sunny with fingers of warmth reaching through the air one minute, then snowing the next. It was perfect, really ... enough sunlight to perk up the sullen mood that comes from not enough sleep, but snowy enough to absolve any guilt about spending too much of the day inside.

Spring seems to be on everyone's mind. I think it's because the first signs of the season are starting to break through. Evidence of early spring in Alaska is very subtle ... even imaginary, in some cases. A sprout here, a non-raven bird there. Spring likes to keep a low profile here until it's suddenly summer, so, in the meantime, we cling to whatever clues we can find.

I remember last year, those subtle moments in which I first started to get a sense that the cold and snow would in fact not last forever. So I scrolled back, and found that the first concrete images of spring 2006 also appeared on March 26. Since this seems to be an anniversary of some sort, I thought I'd look for some Signs of Spring: 2007.

Something green punching through the snow: Actually, quite a bit of snow has melted since I first saw these spiny leaves poking out of several inches of icy crust. I'm not even sure what kind of plant this is, but it's about as impatient as plants come. Twenty bucks says the rest of the city's greenery doesn't show its face until May.

Midnight out at noon: I'm beginning to realize that my cats may actually make through the winter without killing each other. Too much time indoors makes for some spastic felines, but it's been almost impossible to coax them out during the day for months. Now they're raring to go out. They've even found places cleared enough of snow to soak up some sunlight. Good sign.


So much daylight: It's been strange to come home for my dinner break when it's still light out. I walk across the deck and notice that what I see is buildings and mountains, not blurs of orange light shrouded in fog. Pretty soon, it there will be daylight when I come home from work at 11 p.m. Strange.


Landlords still haven't taken the Christmas lights down: Back in January, Geoff and I laughed about this. In February, our neighbors laughed about it. Now it seems to be an unspoken oddity, like having 15 cats - humorous, but with a hint of sad desperation. But Christams lights are so out of place, they're a constant reminder of the passing of time.

Healing up nicely: So last year on March 26, I rear-ended Geoff on a road bike and body-slammed the snowless pavement at 15 mph. The crash ripped away a respectable chunk of my left knee. It took me a while to grow it back, and I didn't do a very good job of it, judging by the unsightly purple scar tissue that remains. Coincidentally, I was sitting at the edge of the public pool today when a lady from my normal gym swam up. She stopped to take a drink of water and regarded me for several seconds before she recognized me. (I think the wet hair and relative lack of clothing threw her off.) We've exchanged injury war stories in the past, and since my knees were right at her eye level, we only got our hellos in before she loudly asked "Oh no! Did you have to get surgery?"

I scrunched my forehead in confusion for a split second before I realized what she was talking about. "Oh no, no," I laughed. "That's my good knee."