Islands of the Smokey Seas

Drenching rain, trying to come down as snow.

March, April, and May can be the most vexing months especially during the last few years when nothing that was before seems to be happening now.  Last year we had our last snow on May 31st.  Now as I glance over at the window, instead of just rain plastering the window, I see it has changed to lumpy rain.  I guess you would call it sleet.  The rain has been doing the job of melting mounds and mounds of snow, and opening up the wild landscaping to the previous fall’s compressed, tan detritus.  It’s around 8:00 PM, so the temperature is most likely dropping.  It is blowing about 35 from the ESE with gusts to right around 50 right now.  There is very little visibility out in the bay or surrounding mountains.  Can’t even see the mountains.  Yesterday it was almost that “S” word that we don’t say out loud or in print, just in case we jinx the season.  This morning everything was frozen.  Now it is blowing like hell.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining.  If there is one thing you can say about weather in the Aleutians it is that it is never boring.  It keeps you on  your toes.  I should probably invest in a waterproof casing for my camera.  As it is, I have to decide when is too wet and wild to take the camera out.   How much time do I want to spend wiping it down when I come inside?  When you grow up in a place known as the birthplace of the winds, you learn to judge how much the wind is blowing by observing the environment.  The first thing you observe is that there is always wind.  White caps generally start when it is blowing 25.  You can see gusts coming by the way they darken the water….black water.  We all look intently for black water at either end of the runway when we are making an approach to land.  Black water at the end of the runway is very, very scary.   You know that when the gusts are picking up water off the sea, it is blowing at least 50.  When that happens we call them williwaws.

Williwaws

So while we wait to find what these next few months will bring us, I will just continue to be exhilarated by the weather.   Ah, yes.  I live in the birthplace of the winds; the islands of the smokey seas.

Ah, spring!

I can say it out loud now.  Spring.  Spring.  Spring!  Indigenous plants are sprouting.  I stepped outside my door to listen to the Lapland Longspurs trilling away.  Male and female, doing the little mating flirtation.  The fog was coming down, and I could tell that a nice drizzle was going to start shortly.  I walked across the lawn, following the birdsong.  A juvenile bald eagle, perched on the light pole next to Mom’s and Dad’s house, ruffled his feathers and for some unknown reason decided to fly to perch on my roof right above my door.  Then he hopped-flew to the little shed 10 feet away.  Well – talons up close are a bit frightening, so I decided to walk across the street to the beach, hoping that he would be gone in a few minutes.  Low tide.  Thinking of the red salmon soon to grace our waters.  I turned back toward the driveway and barely ducked fast enough to evade the adult dive bombing the juvenile with talons extended.  Criminy!  I had to go from fence, to boat, ducking for safety each time that damn eagle would dive.  About 20 feet from the door, I noticed that there was another adult eagle sitting between the little shed outside my door and Mom’s house.  Just sitting there all eagle-eyed in the grass.  Pitter patter goes my heart.  Then another juvenile joined the fray.  Now didn’t I feel just a little ridiculous making a beeline for my front door as if the gates of hell were opening behind me.  Yes, ah spring.