Friday, March 21, 2008

Breaking Up

The boys and I arrived home late last night to dry pavement and brown grass instead of snow. The term for this annual arrival of Spring (a loosely used concept) is "Break Up". And boy, does it break up.

In areas where rivers, lakes, and other open water predominates, the melting of a winter's worth of ice is an important date, indeed. Ice means another way of traveling through the remote wilderness, i.e. with your snogo (snowmobile) dogsled, or even your pickup truck, should the mood strike you. Not only a way to pass the time in areas where entertainment is sparse (Nenana, a town on the way to Denali NP, has a big pool of people who win a ton of money for guessing when the ice will break), the "break up" of the ice is also a safety issue. Nope, don't want to be out there when it starts to go. People, dogs, sleds, and even a few moose have perished due to thin ice conditions.

In our neighborhood, we don't have to worry about much danger from melting ice, if you don't count what lies in our backyard.

Due to either my denial, or the snowpack (or both), I have until today neglected to pick up the residual effects of a dog living in our house this past year. Crap. So, this afternoon, with a brisk breeze coming from the North and sun shining brightly, Bear and I pulled on our "break up boots" and went to clear the poop deck.

In a burst of intelligence, little Bear promptly went to the swingset where his little legs dangled as I struggled to maneuver the shovel, plastic garbage bag, and pile after pile of what my less-than-delicate neighbor calls "dog poop soup". Adding to the mechanics of the process were the camoflauge of leaves left over from autumn and the rock hard ground.

Almost makes me wish for the -10 days again. At least then it was akin to pioneers picking up frozen buffalo chips.

I did what I could, rewarded myself with a cold beer in the yard while Bear finished swinging and Wolf chopped at a snowbank out front. The sun was still bright, the breeze still fresh, and we could at least walk a straight line to the back door without slipping in something.

Until tomorrow, when Yukon brings Jasper home. He sure is going to be busy out there...

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