Spring in Alaska; a seasonal label liberally applied, more in reference to the page(s) of the calendar than to the weather itself. March, especially the second half, is the beginning of "Spring". Longer days, increasing intensity of sunlight, and, usually, warmer temperatures.
"Spring" will last through April into May. The end of Spring is always "Break-up"; that uniquely northern season wedged between "Spring" and "Summer". When the snow is melted, the ground thawed and muddy, waterways swollen and river ice on the move, summer is just around the bend. But I'm getting ahead of myself; two seasons ahead.
Now is Spring. Temps are usually above zero (though a return to minus twenty is possible) with few clouds (if any) and lots of wind.
Today I was thinking about Jesus' words to Nicodemas regarding wind; specifically the part about hearing its sound without knowing from where it comes or goes; an illustration He used to explain spiritual birth to the confused religious leader.
March wind around here can surely be heard, gusting with force. And it can be felt. And I think I know where it comes from...out of the north. Spring wind always blows down river, and it feels like it comes directly from the North Pole, 'cause it's a bitter, frigid gale. The local dialect has a phrase for this season; roughly translated it means "...when our feet are always cold". Very appropriate, especially thinking back a couple of generations when people spent so much time outdoors.
Yesterday I was hauling firewood (yes, more firewood; this IS Alaska, remember) with my snow machine. Traveling through the woods wasn't too bad because the trees block the wind, but crossing the river was like running a gauntlet. The wind attacked without mercy, probing for the slightest opening through the many insulating layers of clothing. And it will find any gap, no matter how slight. When it does, you must immediately make a wardrobe adjustment or frostbite will result. Face and wrists seem to be the most vulnerable.
As I endured the crossing, the river appeared to be blanketed by twenty feet of fog. Wind driven snow was creating a slight "ground blizzard" under a perfectly clear sky. If there had been more loose snow to be carried on the wind, visibility would have dropped way down. The video (from last year) doesn't accurately portray the full effect, but you get the idea.
Actually, the video doesn't portray anything, since I can't get it posted. Bummer! Well, you'll just have to imagine. Good luck with that.
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