Friday, May 2, 2008

Play Ball

It has warmed up a bit. It was 25 degrees today. That may not seem like much but the sun is pretty intense this time of year. While the temp may be below the freezing mark the 17 + hours of sunlight be have everyday zaps the snowpack and gets things a dripping.

School ends in Kotzebue next week. School is winding down and the kids are winding up. They are tired of being stuck inside all day. The kids want out and some teachers are willing to oblige them. The problem is all that sun is turning everything to slop.

Most surfaces are starting to look like this.....

...and this.

So, you make due with what you got....and what we got is ice. Lots and lots of ice. In fact we probably have another month of ice. Even after the snow has melted in town over the next few weeks and the grass has started to poke through the ground, we will still have ice.

The ducks and the geese will return and the willows will bud and green out and we will still have ice. We will be wearing shortsleeved shirts, our sweaters tied around our waists, hooking for smelts and sheefish through holes in sloppy wet ice.

And then one day the ice will shift, groan and shudder. It will fissure and crack. It will break up in huge slabs and small crystal shards. It will bump and grind and heave it's way out to sea on the current and these kid's ball field will be no more.....til next year.


Ceol Mo Cridhe said...

School ends next week??? As in, for the year? When do they go back? Do you know how many school days are required there?
We finish on June 27th - that is still FOREVER away.
We start back the Tuesday after Labor Day; I think it might be Sept. 2 this year, and have a required 187 school days in our calendar. Yet another reason I should be teaching school in AK. Seems funny to let them out of school when it's still cool and icy - and send them back when it's still nice weather in August. Seems like a swap in schedules would benefit both of us more - I need to mow my lawn today, finally.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - meant to post as Coffeedog but under anonymous since I never did anything with that blog - it was just a trial to see if I could set one up, then decided I didn't want to!


tundratantrum said... ends for the year next week. We usually start school around August 15th. I think that the state required around the same amount of days as yours......but I am not sure.

One of the reason that school ends so early is that traditional subsistence activities such as Beluga and Ugruk hunting typically start around the 3rd and 4th week of may. A lot of families head to their camps at that time. Half the village of Noatak leaves and goes to their spring camps at Sisaulik. The funding for schools is attached to attendance. If they continued the school year thru June like other places do attendance would drop drastically. So I guess that the school district decided that it if they couldn't beat them they would join them.

Ana Cristina said...

Hi, I wanted to see how life in Alaska was, and I realize it can be quite interesting...
It's a nice blog, beautiful pictures. Congrats!
Regards from Portugal.