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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Signs of Spring

On a flight last week to Anchorage, this is what I saw: hundreds of miles of ice fields. Doesn't look much like spring, does it? And yet, it is spring in Alaska. Ice is melting, temperatures are rising (51 degrees yesterday in Juneau in the sun) and down jackets are disappearing. I am (desperately) looking for signs of spring. I noticed one a few days downtown. Here is a photo of it:

I took this photograph on South Franklin Street, looking up towards Mount Juneau in the background. Puzzled? A simple truck, you might say, loaded with some kind of materials. What does this have to do with spring?

Take a closer look. This red truck is carrying wooden pallets that are used for transporting freight. They are ubiquitous here. And they are used by young people for bonfires on the beach, a sure sign of spring. Stacked up, they produce a magnificent blaze. Although their use is discouraged because of the nails and staples left behind, young people are taking heed and cleaning up after bonfires.

I found another sign of spring today that couldn't be photographed because it is a sound, not a sight. It was the symphony of bird song that followed me as I walked along the Kaxdegoowu Heen Dei (Clear Water Creek Trail) next to the Mendenhall River. The tiny birds - so many of them - hopped from branch to branch, and it seemed they vied for the loudest sound. You can't see them in this photo, but they were there, reassuring me that spring really is here.

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