Woohoo! Spring is here. I love it. It’s my second favorite season. Autumn is my fave. Even in the Arctic, you could see evidence of fall. The tundra would turn a vibrant red color just before it was covered once again with a thick layer of snow and ice. Spring, on the other hand, was just snow and ice.
Here’s an excerpt from my current work in progress, Ex-Ray. Anne Sutton, is a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher in Barrow, Alaska. She escaped an abusive marriage by disappearing without a trace. She changed her name and appearance and went to the least likely place her husband, a dirty cop, would look for her. She’s been in hiding for 4 years.
A heads up about this passage, the prose are purple on purpose. Wow, I liked typing that sentence. Talk about alliteration.
Spring, my favorite time of year. The trees come to life with tiny buds of green. Dogwoods paint the landscape with lacy splotches of white. The vibrant blaze of Redbuds competes with the scorching yellow of forsythias. Tulips and daffodils dance in the cool early morning air that holds the promise of afternoon warmth.
Springtime in the Ozarks anyway. The vernal equinox doesn’t mean squat four hundred miles above the Arctic Circle. That’s not entirely true because it is time for Piuraagiaqta—the spring festival. For a country girl like me getting used to living next to a frozen ocean was a challenge. My first year in Barrow, I thought I was going insane. I’d survived sixty-two days where the sun didn’t rise above the horizon. Spending Christmas in complete darkness was different to say the least. Then, January rolled around and I was giddy, absolutely giddy, when the sun peaked through a whispery layer of clouds. By February, I was wrapped in a severe depression. The sun was up, but it was thirty-degrees-below zero. No way to go outside and play.
When the rest of the world was reveling in a green wonderland, Barrow was still shrouded in a thick layer of snow and ice. How do the Iñupiaq mark spring? By drilling holes in the frozen lagoon and playing golf. My favorite Piuraagiaqta event was the frozen-chicken bowling. The sheer oddity of seeing a frozen chicken skid across the icy lagoon and knock over bowling pins does a lot to buoy one’s spirits.
P.S. They did away with the chicken bowling event several years ago because it was wasteful, but come one. Artistic license here. That’s quite an image, don’t you think?