Ah, Summer…How I LoveandHateThee…

“Glory” is the word that often comes to mind about most of the summers I’ve spent in Alaska. I was born in Missouri, but we moved to Anchorage in 1963, when I was five years old…and then in 1964 we moved to our homestead, 32 miles north of Talkeetna on the Alaska Railroad.

Beauty, thy name is Sherman from January 1 to December 31.

However…GLORY! thy name is Sherman from the first bud bursting from the birch trees…from the first pussywillows peeping forth in late April when you feel the south winds…from the last tiny patches of rapidly-melting snow and greening ground…from the baby fireweed shoots and little bitty dandelion leaves so you can have the best wilted salad you’ll ever eat…then GLORYGLORYGLORYOHGLORY! Summer bursts forth from the frozen womb of winter.

See…in Alaska, we have three seasons: winter (includes a quasi-fall and 9 months, give or take eternity of snowanddarkness), breakup (when the snow melts and everything smells like recycled dog food if you get my drift) and then Oh Sweet Jesus GLORY that is summer…three whole months of the most beautifulness in the world.

Daylight that lasts for 24 hours. YES!

Leaves that peep and then POP…in less time than it takes to say holy shit it’s summer! Summer in Alaska is analogous to those intricate pop-up books. One minute you’re looking at a flat book that isn’t very interesting, and the next…wow. There’s a city inside that thing! Or a garden…or…well, you get the idea.

There is also the Summer Hell…like when it rains. All. The. TIME. Like..in 1967 it rained – I swear to you – for forty days and yea verily forty nights. Our garden drowned. No joke. Our flat front path was ankle-deep in water and for the first (and only) time since we’ve been at Sherman, the creek came halfway up to our house. It was so high from the torrential downpours of the summer that boulders (that I firmly believe were bigger than our HOUSE) tore out the creosote piling bridge across our creek….this is something I think I may have to explore further in another post.

Anyway…the downside of summer is that by mid-June, you know that you’re closer to a hard frost and that nasty white stuff and ice than you are to Glory. And then there are the mosquitoes. My friend Kristi Rieger Campbell swears that Virginia mosquitoes make anyone else’s look like couch potatoes…but I am here to call her out on that. In Alaska, ours are the state BIRD. OooRAHH.

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, hosted by the ahhhhMAZING Kristi Rieger Campbell of Finding Ninee.

 

8 thoughts on “Ah, Summer…How I LoveandHateThee…

  1. I love this! I have a good friend who used to live near Fairbanks, and her stories of the winters made my toes fall off down here in the continental midwest. I had serious, serious blueberry envy of her summers, though. She talked about blueberries growing so plentifully that she would freeze twenty pounds of them and leave the rest rotting on the line AFTER she made cakes and pies and muffins and and and… I can see the pop-up book you describe here. You write like a slam poet — just beautiful!

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  2. Why, thank you! Yes indeed…blueberries are plentiful, if it’s been a good breakup and you get enough rain…and you have to know where to go. And bring a big GUN because bears reallyreallyreally like blueberries…and people…for lunch. I have to say that this is the first time anyone has compared my writing to a slam poet. Clearly, I need to check that out… 😉

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  3. I only got one mosquito bite during my entire time in Alaska in August (how??) and I will say that my forehead swelled up like an egg. What the what was that?
    Here in New England, the natives all say that once summer hits, we get amnesia about the winter and generally lousy spring. That it makes us appreciate summer all that much more. Personally, since I’m not native, I say I’d rather live somewhere where you can appreciate every day. (like San Diego?)
    And yet, here I am riding the seasonal storms. (I think I am becoming one of them)

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    1. Tamara, it sounds like you might’ve gotten a moosefly bite. They don’t hurt – at first – but some people react like you did. My mom is one of those; she’d get bitten and her eyelid would swell dramatically – or her lip…usually before we had to take the train into town.

      I used to live in San Diego…I miss the beaches SO MUCH!!!

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  4. Yay! You linked up! LOL to calling me out on mosquitos. Since I’ve never been to Alaska, I’ll have to head up and make an in-person comparison. YIKES to that summer of rain – yes to another blog post all about that. I hope you enjoy your summer and that the salads are as delicious as they sound in this post!

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    1. My Gram used to teach me what weeds are safe to eat…and dandelion leaves are DELISH. Gram made a kickass bacon grease vinaigrette – hot, of course – and she’d make an ENORMOUS bowl of dandelion and fireweed salad…with crisp bacon bits and bacon grease vinaigrette…oh I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

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  5. But you do adjust. Alaskans are so starved of Vitamin D – which you get from sunlight – that we have to take it in fairly large doses. I take 2000 IU per day, year-round. We have so much more energy in the summer…

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