Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: So, now what 2021 ?

The new year has started out in an interesting way, mainly because many of us are still dealing with some hang-around issues from the previous 365 days.

Sometimes, being an optimist can be a challenge along with a pain in the butt.

On the last day of 2020, we breathed a sigh of relief sensing that we were about to roll into 2021 without a major quake twisting our cabin into a split-level duplex or one of the nearby volcanoes blowing its skull cap burying our surroundings under a blanket of crud smacking of gritty dark soot from a rusted stove pipe.

Optimism won. Neither happen chance occurred but ’20 did take a couple of final swings. On New Year’s Eve, the check engine light in my truck lit up and cabin’s Monitor heater started making racket like a cargo jet engine gnawing on a Piper Cub. Hence, one last keister kick.

The new year has started out in an interesting way, mainly because many of us are still dealing with some hang-around issues from the previous 365 days.

We are continuingly being fed leftovers from a stewpot of simmering problems such as the pandemic and associated human, “colonoscopy entrance portals,” who not only squeeze the Charmin but stash away enough other “vital” products to service an aircraft carrier when the latest panic infused shortage rumor hits Facebook or the dark side of Twitter.

Fortunately, a vaccine has now split the gloom and has commenced to attack the COVID beast, forcing hapless hoarders to retreat back into their bunkers to mull over what to do with cases of wasp spray they squirreled away after they became convinced that murder hornets were the hottest new threat to mankind. Unfortunately, there is no known vaccine for those folks infected with the common sense of a lemming.

At the moment, in our small patch of paradise, we are dealing with an anomaly that we haven’t seen in years, much less 2020, and its wickedly weird weather.

Old Man Winter can’t seem to get his gnarly claws into anything that would aid him in keeping his grip on the season.

Lately, he just pops over the mountains, lays down a blanket of snow and then slips out of the area leaving behind the rain trolls to dump a load of wet for the trailing frost imps to frolic around in until the topography morphs into sheer ice that only a crampon distributor could admire.

Such ensuing conditions do not portend well for those hitting the highways unless they’re into black ice drifting.

Fortuitously, said practices are a rare pastime due to the unseemly shrieking it produces from novices to the sport and their passengers when the opportunity to participate arrives unexpectedly. Trust me, I speak from intense exposure to the Turnagain Dance several times over the last three decades.

The continued freeze-thaw-freeze action lately, has required more sand to be spread on our access roads than the Trans-Sahara Highway during a Haboob. The next time I want to see this much accumulation of said grit is in Maui and it just might be cheaper.

On the much brighter side, there is a wildlife convention being held around our cabin and the immediate area.

Pheasants are darting around the yard acting like it’s time to kick off the breeding season. Strutting males, coy hens, and mild territorial dust-ups. This, all to the great delight of passing eagles, a ravenous goshawk and lurking coyotes that take great joy in the fact that the birds are displaying the collective IQ’s of the sand on the driveway.

I’m not quite sure what is firing up the birds but I may have to thin the flock a bit with a finely tuned pattern of snake shot to ensure we have a main course entree for our Easter meal (we used to serve rabbit but it was hard to get guests).

Finally, we have suddenly been invaded by a scattered herd of moose. We have one cow and her twins, two young knobby bulls, another mother with her young’n and a wayward fledgling cow displaying nearly the same perspicacity as the rooster following her around. I don’t know what his intentions are but, if he challenges the scatterbrain once too often, the boy’s going to be capon paste.

Well, now I don’t know what to say. I had just finished this column when all hell broke loose in D.C. and it produced a flashback.

In last month’s column I noted, “…we slide deeper into December with nervous confidence that 2020 doesn’t have an evil twin, with a wicked gas problem, waiting in the wings.”

It makes one wonder now if there’s going to be a run on bathroom deodorizer. Let’s hope not.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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