Poem: Alaskan Spring

Alaskan Spring

By Barbara Njaa, Nikiski

It’s spring again on the Cook Inlet.

Every year finds us more aware of the seasonal rhythms

Snow dying and black currant buds plump, waiting to open,

Seagulls returning — their raucous cries punctuate the soft sounds of waves.

The ice berm pocked and rotted — uneven mounds of sand mark those already gone.

Morning comes early, the flush of peach and rose brighten the northeastern sky.

Wondrous light after long winter’s night.

Always there is something new,

That has percolated through our consciousness and pooled into action.

This spring we are gathering birch sap.

We hurry home and walk out to our lovely ‘cow with roots’,

Checking the pail gently attached to her papery trunk.

At first we would find one small drop

Then a warm day brought surging sap

And our small-scale collecting began.

We thought about syrup but that seemed work

So we drink iced sap with a squeeze of lemon…

New to us, old as Alaska, refreshing.

Breakup is nothing like it used to be.

Now puddles on soft gravel, not tire-swallowing mud.

No more brisk mornings walking through the chill,

Crunching over frozen layers into watery depths.

Easy to see before leaves of devil’s club and wild celery

Wall the roadside with jungle green.

Listening to a woodpecker, wondering when the early swans will come —

Warming — meeting a moose chewing branches in no hurry to leave.

Reaching the car and starting it,

Realizing I needed an extra thirty minutes,

That I am running late.

Nothing is growing yet,

Though signs of growth color birch twigs and currant buds.

Snow lies on slopes and under tawny grasses.

Rushing meltwater makes its way into Inlet waters.

Change is lovely and pampering novel —

The walk can wait ’til the workday’s end…

Alaskan spring!

More in Life

This artwork, as well as the story that accompanied it in the October 1953 issue of Master Detective magazine, sensationalized and fictionalized an actual murder in Anchorage in 1919. The terrified woman in the image is supposed to represent Marie Lavor.
A nexus of lives and lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 1

William Dempsey and two other men slipped away from the rest of the prison road gang on fog-enshrouded McNeil Island, Washington, on Jan. 30, 1940

Minister’s Message: Reorienting yourself to pray throughout the day

No doubt, one of the most remarkable gifts God gives to communicate with his creation is the gift of prayer

The Christ Lutheran Church is seen on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Musicians bring ‘golden age of guitar’ to Performing Arts Society

Armin Abdihodžic and Thomas Tallant to play concert Saturday

Storm Reid plays June Allen in “Missing,” a screenlife film that takes place entirely on the screens of multiple devices, including a laptop and an iPhone. (Photo courtesy Sony Pictures)
On The Screen: ‘Missing’ is twisty, modern, great

I knew “Missing” was something special early on

Puff pastry desserts are sprinkled with sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Puff pastry made simple

I often shop at thrift stores. Mostly for cost, but also out… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Would I do it again?

I ran across some 20-some year-old journal notes rambling on about a 268-foot dive I took

A copy of Prince Harry’s “Spare” sits on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion office on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Prince Harry gets candid about ‘gilded cage’ in new memoir

“Spare” undoubtedly succeeds in humanizing Harry

The cast of “Tarzan” rides the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Independence Day parade in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate swings into the year with ‘Tarzan’, Dr. Seuss and fishy parody

The next local showing of the Triumvirate Theatre is fast approaching with a Feb. 10 premiere of “Seussical”

This vegan kimchi mandu uses crumbled extra-firm tofu as the protein. (Photo by Tressa Dale / Peninsula Clarion)
Meditating on the new year with kimchi mandu

Artfully folding dumplings evokes the peace and thoughtful calm of the Year of the Rabbit

Most Read