Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Is it spring yet?

This winter has been a long one.

Everyone mentions that, no matter their age or longevity in the state. The past two years spoiled us for the real thing, and now we’re lamenting that spring isn’t here yet, when in any normal Alaskan year, we’d be celebrating the beautiful sunny days, the increasing light and marveling that the first day of spring had been clear as a bell and relatively warm.

In true Alaskan fashion, no one is happy with the weather!

A new thing this year for me was an icicle. Yeah, the winter has been so exciting I can get excited over an icicle! But this was a big one. We’ve had little dripletss before, when the sun starts to melt the snow on the roof and then freezes because it really isn’t very warm out. But they hardly ever got beyond maybe six inches long.

This one was as big as my arm and over five feet long. I was cultivating it. Made Hubby promise not to knock it off. It was on the southwest corner of the roof and grew inches every day. I was waiting for it to reach the ground (and it almost did). One afternoon, it was gone. At first I swore someone had broken it off because it was so big (it was on the corner nearest the street) but further investigation showed it had simply fallen. It was one of those beautiful sunny days, and I guess it warmed faster than it froze. It was nearly five feet long before it crashed. And of course I didn’t take a picture.

It’s been a slow, unremarkable season but finally we got together with the Lunch Bunch to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day last month. We’d all seen each other individually and around here and there, but hadn’t been together for lunch all winter so it was fun to catch up again. No big news, except one couple is moving out of state, to Oregon to be nearer their kids.

This news resulted in a lot of talk of sorting, packing, disposing and otherwise paring down one’s existence. Funny how when you begin to accumulate things the thought of getting rid of them never crosses your mind. It seems also when we get to ‘a certain age’ the need to clear our lives becomes a reality — how to do that is another thing because you realize very quickly ‘The kids don’t want this stuff.’

The Bunch all assured me, somewhat tongue in cheek, I’m sure, that last month’s column had spurred them into at least thinking about thinning out the collections.

Over the winter, one of the group had fallen and cracked a rib so she wasn’t present but we had telephone report of how she is doing. Thankfully, she’s ready to get her bridge group together again, although she is still in a lot of pain. A couple of us had cracked rib stories, but we’d been much younger than she when it happened and nothing as innocent as a fall on the stairs. We all agreed the pain associated with that type of injury is not really conducive to sitting at a bridge table, but then some people have strange addictions, Bridge being a pretty benign one.

And so it goes. We talked about Green Beer (it was St. Patrick’s Day after all), twenty-five cent gasoline, dragging Main, and a couple of other ancient topics only someone over 65 would recognize. We compared our days of raising kids to today’s methods (diapers on the clothes line?) brought up by something in the news, and not once did anyone mention politics. All in all it was a very enjoyable couple of hours and we promised to do it again soon. I hope before next St. Patrick’s Day.

As winters go, this one will pass. And next year we’ll hardly remember how it really was. I have a new acquaintance who moved here from out of state a couple of years ago who has asked many times how long before spring. I always tell him it IS spring. He remembers last year, and how April had new leaves and a few enthusiastic flowers, and I’m not sure he believes me. But then someone always chimes in “You should have been here in (enter any year before 2015)” and the stories begin.

Next time I’m here it will be almost May. The ice will probably have gone out on the Nenana, Easter will be two weeks in the past, graduation will be in the forefront and fishing will loom like the gorilla in the room. We’ll be looking ahead to the solstice and the dip-netting crowd. I hope I don’t have a five foot icicle hanging from the roof.

Virginia Walters lives in Kenai. Email her at

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