Writer of Soul-Searching Snark


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.

Anyway, enjoy!!

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?


Comments on: "Spring!" (18)

  1. Quite an image, indeed. Can’t wait to read this new book.

  2. …and now it is March 19…-29 with a windchill of -53!!
    Thank you for the images of spring, I certainly miss them. Especially the Redbuds!!

  3. Dammit!

    I missed the chicken bowling!

    If only I’da come earlier.

  4. Quite the contrast in visual images of spring from here to Alaska. You painted both eloquently. Working for a poultry company, I find the idea of chicken bowling a novel way to sell more product. We should get someone on the genetics team to develope a rounder chicken. What fun!

    • Russell, what a great idea! Could you get them to develop three holes in the chicken’s back too? The flinging of the frozen chicken was quite a challenge. 🙂

  5. Ruby Blue said:

    I like it! Brings back good memories of both kinds of springs. What is purple prose anyway? I have always heard the term but I thought it applied to ornate descriptions of affection. OK I’ll go look it up. Love the excerpt.

    • Hiya Ruby! Purple prose is the overuse of description. Being a huge fan of purple, I don’t see why it’s a problem! Then again, I’m also into melodrama. . .

  6. Ruby Blue said:

    P.S. My favorite was always the Captains’ wives tea making contest. That and the golf. Oh, and the dancing. And the goose calling was fun, and the parade with the Zamboni in it and dodging thrown frozen candy.

    • I went to a parade in Iowa (don’t ask!) and they threw Otter Pops from the floats. I always wanted to know why they didn’t throw fudgeicles or better yet Eskimo pies from the floats in Barrow.

      Loved the Zamboni!

  7. You are one of the most tenacious women I know! No sun for days. Temperatures that only a polar bear could love! And, you capture all so beautifully in words. 🙂

    Am loving Redneck-Ex. Am about half way through.


    Linda Joyce

    • Linda, hope you enjoy Redneck Ex. You’d really like Barrow, I promise. Sure, it was dark and cold and filled with ice and snow, but the people are wonderful. It’s a great place to live.

  8. Frozen chicken bowling! OMG! Sounds great.

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