From October until May the reality is cold and dark and glorious.
Then the light begins to come back. Give or take that allows Alaska four months of the other extreme. Summer. The Magnificent Anxiety.
Every endeavor is predicated on the reality that WINTER IS COMING!
People work and play until exhaustion drops them in a heap. They fish and hike and climb and hunt and garden and did I mention fish? They can and smoke and share and all the while they are outside they are surrounded by Alaska. Alaskan flora and fauna doing the very same exhaustive struggle to prepare for winter and those that pay attention can tell you what part of the summer you are in by what is blooming.
The riotous season begins with green-green anything. The fireweed shoots climb out of the ground before the snow is gone. Alaskan daffodils [dandelions anyplace else] spread joy and brilliance along the roadsides.
Mother’s Day, more or less, suddenly, there are leaves. I’m not kidding - over a three day period fat buds explode shielding all debris from sight. The understory begins to leaf out and bloom-Current and serviceberry and cranberry and Labrador Tea.
Ahh, June, the first week star flowers sprinkle like fairy dust through the woods. The second week the Prickly Roses begin and by then the Lupine has started. As the month progresses Chiming Bells and Geraniums take over and the last week Iris rule. At your feet a blanket of twin flowers flow over the sides of the lane.
July, the fireweed is five feet tall and pink spires proclaim summer is half over. Potentilla and Yarrow are everywhere.
August-oh dear. Mushroom month. The green understory in the woods turns red and yellow.
These are some of my passionate observations - your milage may vary. There are soooo many more. Don’t tell me I forgot the chocolate lily or the arnica or — I love summers flowers. Sadly, winter is coming.
--- DeNise Woodbury