It started sneakily about a month ago. On my way to work over a snow-packed road, I had to dodge an invisible bird. I'm just driving along and suddenly I notice that a big hunk of the snow in front of me is walking! Up north there are signs that say "Watch For Invisible Birds." A winter-white ptarmigan on a snow-covered road is absolutely invisible, now I can say that for sure! At any rate, I don't usually see ptarmigan or grouse out on the roads until....well, let's just say a certain time of year.
Two weeks ago I came up over the top of a big hill and was zooming down the other side when a smallish red squirrel decided to run across the road about six feet in front of me. I straddled him with my front tires but I don't know if Mr. Suicide Squirrel knew to stop where he was. I didn't look back. On the way home I didn't see a little squirrel rug in the road, so I think he made it. We'll all hope so, right?
Squirrels are awake. Check.
It hadn't snowed for a while, so last week a friend came with this front-end loader for another yearly ritual: removing the hard pack from my driveway and parking areas.
It warmed up enough that my gnarly, toothy icicles melted off my car. In fact, all the ice melted off my car!
I found the bottom step of my porch!
Extreme happiness was mine just a couple days ago when the Jesus ice melted off the road. You all know what Jesus ice is. It's longer than your car, and this year, because of a horrendous ice storm it was even now half an inch thick! (It started out at 3 inches thick.) There were several places where I had to cross huge swathes of ice. It's Jesus ice: you hang onto the steering wheel, you don't DARE touch ANY pedal, or even blink, breath, fart and God forbid SNEEZE because if you do your vehicle changes direction, and suddenly, too! And you hang on and say "Oh Jesus!" and HELLO ditch/tree/pond etc.
Jesus ice is a naturally occurring phenomenon, though there are those who suspect that someone goes out at night with a Zamboni... There was one bit right by Farmer's Loop that was a huge dipping raceway and it made my day when pavement stripes finally showed up. I've had moose cross right in front of me more than once right there. That's when Jesus ice turns into oh-shit-ice. The disappearance of the Jesus ice on a curve on a hill by the pond was also completely wonderful. All winter I used my excellent superpowers to keep from ending up in the pond.
This is Break Up season (ice, not relationships, although somtimes they do go hand-in-hand), where you never know what will happen next. Invisible birds, marauding squirrels, moose, foxes and all manner of critters are now out and about.Yesterday there was a muskrat, of all things, toodling around in the middle of the road.
The bears are waking up. Why don't you non-Alaskans just sit and think about that for a minute.
I was almost silly with happiness just the other day. Daylight is up to 13 hours a day, the snow is a foot less deep, I had water dripping from my balcony and roof! Most of the pavement was dry! I could almost drive like it was summer. Operative word here: almost.
Less happy but a harbinger of....um.....S.....is the re-appearance of all the dog poop in the back yard, no longer frozen to -30. Ah....the s-word goes along with the S-word every year.
I've had to plug in my freezer (which is in storage shed) because of warm temps during the day, but unplug it to plug in my car because it was 20 below first thing in the morning. Then start the car and remember to plug in the freezer before I left because during that day it would go up to 32 above!
I haven't taken the cardboard out from in front of my radiator yet. Not until it's above freezing all the time.
S***** is almost here. Some were saying so, and often. You could feel the party atmosphere just walking around town. People were going around in light jackets and even some with sandals on (there's still ice!). The joy was palpable wherever you went.
Then some people, too many people, used the S-word too many times in the last week and of course Mother Nature fought back. Spring has been temporarily canceled while it SNOWS AGAIN. Party over. Everyone is BUGGED and rather disgusted. It's rumored that several people shoveled the snow off their roofs this weekend, and that's why it snowed again. Could be. All I know is that I'd better watch out for Jesus ice.