Of Biblical proportions, I would imagine.
Alaska schools begin their spring breaks over the next two weeks, and already the airline terminals are filling with overanxious, overeager, and definitely over-wintered 49th state residents ready for a respite.
We witnessed this phenom last weekend while walking toward terminal C at Anchorage International. C1 was leaving for Honolulu, our friend H. the First Officer, and he said flights had been full lately. "We're outta here" is the general mantra, he told me, clutching his passenger manifest and glancing at the crowded gate area. And we were going to Fairbanks. Bummer.
Weather wise, winter 2010/11 hasn't been particularly brutal to Anchorage-ites. No -40 degree nights, lots of sunshine; our only complaint was not enough snow rather than too much. But health wise, it's been a tough one. Between Bear and I, enough cough, cold, and flu medicine has been taken to assure stocks in such pharmaceuticals for a long, long, long time. The same can be said for much of the state. H1N1 reared its ugly self, Influenza of other types came to visit, and the usual coughs and colds left many a classroom down many children at a time. It, for lack of a better descriptor, sucked. Badly.
So we're leaving in search of green grass and flowering things and bare sidewalks. Quite the irony that our destination seems determined to be white instead of green. But Grandma assures us it will merely be raining when we show up on Tuesday. And, for once in my life, I'm ecstatic to hear it.
Ten days of lounging around, hiking familiar trails, running without spikes in my shoes and mittens on my hands. Bliss. Bear is excited to bring his Christmas scooter along to get a jump on pre-summer riding, making his pals jealous.
I do know, however, that it won't be long before Alaska joins the rest of the nation in thawing out, melting down, and greening up. I can see tired, brown grass underneath the tree wells of spruce in our neighbors' yard, and birds are starting to show up in greater numbers at the feeder. The days are longer now, and The Dog has begun curling up in his favorite late-afternoon "patch of sunshine" at the back slider. He does this every year about this time, it lets us know spring isn't really that far away.
We're ready this year. Boy, are we ready. But first, the exodus.