Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do

Growing up, the beautiful springtime season of soft April showers and flowers and twitterpation was a reality largely contained to the siver screen. I would sit in front of the family television and hug my knees and watch the glories of spring unfurl with the petals of flowers and sneaker commercials.

Then, when I received the inevitable instructions from my mother to stop watching the television and go play outside, I would leave the dream world of Hollywood and suit up for a little playtime in the Alaskan spring weather.

In southcentral AK, we don't actually have Spring. We have Breakup. I've never owned a pair of galoshes, but I have grown out of my fair share of breakup boots.

In order for the anticipated long, green and warm days of summer to come, Alaska has to shed her winter coat. Before the sun can warm the earth, it must first eat its way through six months of rotting snow and ice.

It's not a pretty sight.

Huge rivers and lakes appear on what were once roads and sidewalks. Children examine the soles of their shoes because the thawing dead plants smell like dog poop. The vehicles of Anchorage all look like they've been through an ash-eruption of a local volcano.

If you are ever planning to come to Alaska, please do NOT come during breakup. It's ugly, it's usually still pretty cold, there are no animals, and none of the cool tours are running yet. You cannot ride a bicycle, you can't really hike, and walking can also pose a hazard.

Now you may, given the above, be under the impression that I don't like breakup, but let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. In point of fact, I LOVE it. I love the lenghthening days. I love when warmth returns to the sun and the drifts of snow in my yard turn into bare patches of mud. I love driving through the puddles fast and letting the water jet up from either side of my car. I love it all - mostly for the assurance of what is ending and the promise of what is to come.

But breakup is a private time. We are not looking our best.

So please come. But come in June, when we have our makeup on.


Amy said...

I love this post!! I had never thought of such a thing (even though here on the East Coast and from my childhood in the midwest, I can totally relate but on a much smaller scale). I hope someday to travel to Alaska...I'll remember to wait until summer!

Anonymous said...

too true. well put and I can't wait to read what was sent to me. here's to my red truck looking grey!

Sam I am said...

private time? hilarious, as always

Daylan said...

i live in sunny, warm kenya, and you have me missing the nasty, brown alaska break-up. oh the smells, the sounds, the euphoria of riding bikes and getting that brown streak up the back. thanks for capturing that so poignantly.

Holmsey said...

oh dear...i remember break-up. it's a beast.