Monday, February 9, 2009

Winter Sunshine -- and nearly all is forgiven!

A rant, of sorts, about the weather

The sun is shining! This may not be news-worthy where you live, but to me, this is BIG. You see, since mid-November I've not seen very much of the sun at my house or my workplace. This is a beautiful valley, but valleys have mountains, and they do have an annoying tendency to block out the sun.

I've often thought about getting a petition getting going where either the month of January or February is abolished -- I'm not asking too much, am I?

This weekend I taught an outdoor class at the Nature Center, and the sun ACTUALLY shone on us during the whole walk. Even though it was barely above zero Fahrenheit (-17 Celsius) when I went to work, the sun managed to warm the air up to the teens! One month ago there was NO sunshine in the low-lying areas, and daytime temperatures did not vary much from the night.

I saw a coyote crossing the road on my way in, a bald eagle was perched on a tall cottonwood when I took my group outside, and the snow just sparkled in the sun! It felt great!
Later I'm sitting on the couch in the living room, and sunshine is streaming in and illuminating all the dust bunnies. Dust - Schmust! Right now I'd rather have sun than a clean house!

This winter has been cold (duh, it's Alaska!) But really, here on the coast there are some years where we get rather mild temperatures, AND, our bane, warm winds and rain!
We did get some of those warm rains briefly in mid-January, right when we returned from out vacation to sunny California. We had left right after New Year's Day and it was something like minus 20 degrees F, but when we returned to Anchorage in the upper 40's with wind and rain. As you can imagine, all that rain over snow and the road were TERRIBLE. Like most Alaskans, we have 4-wheel drive and studded tires on our cars, but we still could not get up our driveway when we got home. I took a picture of youngest pulling a sled of groceries up the driveway a few days after we got back. Not to complain, but it was impossible to walk on that driveway without some sort of grippers or crampons!
But then, thankfully, cold temperatures returned, and we got some snow to cover the nasty ice, and now I can walk and drive up and down without risk of injury. Sooo, as much as I can complain about the lack of warmth in Alaska during the winter, when we get unseasonably warm weather in the middle of winter, then I complain about that even louder!

Here's a children's book by Elsa Beskow, an author I remember fondly from my childhood. I was so tickled when I found a couple of her books at the local Waldorf School.
This one is called "Ollie's Ski Trip": after Ollie received a pair of skiis for Christmas, he wants to go out and use them. He meet King Winter, who's responsible for nice cold snowy weather. But along comes Old Mrs. Thaw, who threatens to melt all that snow away. King Winter manages to chase away Mrs. Thaw for now, and Ollie gets in some more skiing. But eventually, when Spring comes, Mrs. Thaw is welcome to chase away Winter.

Wolf has felt a bit like Ollie under house arrest. When he injured his lung in December, he was told not to exercise for at least 6 weeks, which included no skiing in Tahoe! Poor kid. By the time the doctor cleared him for skiing, we had had that visit from Mrs. Thaw... It did eventually snow again, but not enough to build up much base until this weekend. So my Ollie will finally be able to strap on his Cross-country skiis and get out there -- and hopefully it will still be a while before Mrs. Thaw shows up again in our part of Alaska.

And I guess we don't need to abolish February --it's a short month after all!


honeypiehorse said...

It looks so beautiful when the sun comes out! I don't know how I'd cope with so much mountainy winter but it sure is gorgeous.

PolarBearCreations said...

I love that book too!
Even here in Florida we had a couple of weeks with night temperatures of -4C, what is cold here . Not for us , but in Florida it's dramatic. Still nothing compared to Canada or Alaska though.
I'm sending you some sunshine!
We have lots of that. :0)
Liebe Gruesse