There’s only one word to fully describe spring in Alaska: magic. It is a magical time of renewal, energy, sun (yes unlimited sunshine), green trees and blue skies and more outdoor time than you can come to terms with. It’s also sort of a progressive experience when you open the door in the morning to let your dog out and suddenly, you realize: there’s no expansive blanket of white snow everywhere. After seeing it for half a year and accepting the reality of white, everywhere, and yet a miracle occurs. Abruptly, Alaska changes its image quicker than a chameleon. The tulips and daffodils poke up through iced over soil, determined to emerge against the odds of bitter icy winds and gray days. I thrill at the emergence of just their little pointed sprouts and carefully monitor their growth.
Photo by Jesse Rosenstein
It is magic. It is magic when suddenly, Baxter’s Bog is filled with quacking ducks. It is magic when the Anchorage woods reveal newborn moose on wobbly legs with hyper-vigilant mothers. The magic appears when you are driving by Russian Jack Park on Boniface one day and notice buds on the trees and two day later they are leafed out. My friend Rosie swears that she hears the buds popping open. Right on cue, the leaves force their way out to the sun like a chick breaking out of its egg. Magic is the riot of colors everywhere: the mountain roses, the Forget-Me Nots, the Fireweed, the endless purple of various flowers along the Seward highway. Magic are soft ferns in sweet yellow greens gracing the forest floors and then creeping up the mountain sides. Magical are the baby goats perching precariously with their mothers who tutor them on sure-footedness on the cliffs by Beluga point. There’s more magic in Prince William Sound where the mother otters carry their babies on their bellies and backs. And the Sea Lion moms bark orders in no uncertain terms to their pups and other brood. Magic is walking through Riley Campground by Denali National Park on any given morning and smelling the coffee and bacon in a veritable polyglot slumber party. In any Anchorage neighborhood, kids emerge in bare armed T-shirts at 32 degrees shooting baskets into garage door hoops. Magic is the sheer delight at kayaking Cheney Lake not long after you ice-skated the loop. Magic is a bear scampering through Bicentennial Park, unnerving the hikers. Magic is dozing on the beach at Goose Lake while kids splash. Magic is more people running, walking, biking, kayaking, hiking on the trails, the sidewalks, the streets, the mountain sides and the city woods of Anchorage than I’ve seen all winter.
Photo by Jesse Rosenstein
The pace is fast, it’s frenetic, it’s hungry to move. The magic is this voracious appetite for life. Everyone is out. Everyone is determined to live large and give it all they’ve got. Alaska, we thrill in your magic!