Glorious, isn’t it?
This is a sundog. If the sun is high enough in the sky, it will be completely encircled by a rainbow. Most of the time, however, sundogs appear when the air is crisp and cool, which means late winter, which means the sun is hovering just above the horizon in Anchorage, Alaska, and blinding you if you have the misfortune of driving south on your way home. You learn to drive with one hand blocking the sun.
In Alaska, we don’t call spring “spring”. We call it “break-up”. Not because a long winter is hard on relationships (it is), but because river ice starts moving. The television show Northern Exposure called this time of year “crack-up”, the premise being that all of the characters were stressed to the max until the river started moving and then they felt relief because of some mystical relationship with the river ice. Unfortunately, there is no sudden relief from cabin fever in the spring. It ebbs away slowly.
So very slowly. Especially this year. But I digress.
Up Fairbanks-way, someone got the great idea to freeze a tripod in the middle of the Nenana River and connect it to a clock on land which is triggered when the tripod starts moving. I am not making this up. It’s been going on since 1917. Here’s the website: Nenana Ice Classic.
Betting on that exact date and time has been a popular spring pastime. The tickets don’t cost a lot and I must admit that I’ve entered on a few occasions, but the disappointment at having not won isn’t worth the $2.50 expenditure, especially if one’s cabin fever has not ebbed away yet. Which it hasn’t. So I quit playing.
Another prominent feature of break-up are potholes. Freeze and thaw are hard on pavement and most roads are completely repaved every three to five years (it seems), which leads to the season known as “road construction” (“summer” to the rest of you). Potholes are everywhere so there is a lot of weaving on the roads trying to avoid them when snow first melts because they will destroy your car. The City of Anchorage even has a pothole hotline for people to call in reports and it is pretty good about getting them patched quickly.
And this is how my break-up is faring this year: more snow, sundogs and potholes.
How is it going in your part of the country? If your tulips are coming up, I really don’t want to know. Tell me something horrible. Make it up if you have to.