Though I started in early December, I feel completely confident and absolutely justified in thinking seriously about summer after this past week of fantastic weather.
I think of the same sky and same temperature, only rather than riding my bike to Raley’s, I’ll be seeking fish or alpine mountain tops.
Usually sometime in May when it hits 60 degrees kids are jumping off the bridge at high tide as long as it’s sunny. At 65, skiffs tow wake-boards through seal infested waters. The best days in June and July warm to the mid 70s which are almost over-heating to the sun-deprived denizens of my hometown.
My mom usually gets rich quotes from her elementary students about how unbearable the heat is and how thirsty the gravel roads become after three or (gasp) four straight days with no rain.
Precipitation does inevitably come again, and everything eventually returns to normal.
By the time I arrive in June, the sun will sneak through the blinds of my room at 3:45. By 4 coffee is percolating, and by 5 fishermen are tending to their totes at the private and public docks.
While the town awakes and starts its pursuit of fish for the freezer or bank account, I get to relax and fully soak in the rainless days throwing No. 12 orange scuds into the Dolly Hole on the Thorne River and pulling out rainbows, cutthroats, cuttbows, and Dolly Varden. If not there, then maybe I’ll walk lazily down the trail that traces the Klawock River, stopping at Nagoosh and Steelhead Hole before ending up at Lagoon.
Certainly the day will end with some sort of fire, either in my front yard next to the ocean, or outside the guide shack by the Fireweed Lodge for a recap of the day out on the ocean, the biggest fish and any golden quotes from clients.
It is in those immaculate, though numbered, cloudless days that optimism flourishes. No one is inside. No one. People drive 22 in the 25, 45 in the 50 as if going the limit will speed up not only their rusty rig, but time as well.
People walk to the store, or if they are feeling ambitious, to the neighboring town seven miles away. I once saw two bear, seven deer and a whale on that walk one afternoon.
But all that is in the future, though that’s where my mind goes on days like today. In the mean time failing to slow down is to miss out.
What more could we want?
It’s 9 degrees and cloudy in Barrow, Alaska. When it’s raining we appreciate the plight of the reservoir, farmers and our own lawns, but within a day or two of returning to the clear skies that California is known for, it’s easy to neglect the simplistic extravagance of a sky with little to no clouds.
To contact Jeff Lund, email firstname.lastname@example.org.