I've been told to watch for when the fireweed blooms at the top of the stalk. That means snow will begin to fly in about 6 to 8 weeks. Fireweed blooms from the bottom up over the summer months.
Doesn't look like it should be called "fireweed," does it? After the blossoms and the "cotton" leave the plant, the stalks and leaves are left in a red-orange state that look like flames. Haven't reached that point quite yet, here in Anchorage, though, so I'll post some pictures later.
But isn't it interesting that little cotton balls begin to form near the base? Almost as if they are growing thicker fur like the animals in order to stay warmer. Maybe I should do the same.
I finally saw Denali (I call it that now instead of Mt. McKinley because I've been corrected twice already.) I see it from my living room window 300 miles away! I've been watching and waiting for that ever since my landlady, who called it Mt. McKinley, told me I would be able to see it on a clear day. It's a "clear day" around here for a bit and I snapped a blurry picture. Couldn't help it, but here's what I've come up with so far.
I went shopping yesterday at Salvation Army, JUST IN CASE I could spot something really worth owning for a while. Found this little gem:
Denali again! At first I thought it was just an odd, "artistic" little homemade clock with a turquoise-colored second hand. That second hand is what sealed the deal for me. I know it's all bent out of the shape the artist meant for it, but it's really flexible and I will work with it until it looks right. Couldn't quite tell what the logo on the back was supposed to be. A dinosaur maybe?
Then walking around my neighborhood last night I saw this sign:
So now, for the time being (oh! I didn't even intend that pun!) it sits on the sill for when it's not a clear day and I can't see the real thing out my window. Pay no attention to those cars behind the curtain. Well...then pay no attention to the fact that there are no curtains...yet.
Home Again, Home Again; Jiggedy Jig! Since this is mostly a nonsensical phrase, I get to make up what it means and I'm making up that it means hooray for Penelope Anne Armstrong who has yet again "moored in the shelter of the bay." And she is going to mix metaphors to beat the band in this post, because even that one little nautical phrase is a ganglia of symbolism. (In keeping with the nautical theme, I supposed I could have referred to coils of rigging rope rather than ganglia, but my teeth hurt right now and my mind is on nerves and tendril-like ganglion plexuses.)
The top coils of my clever metaphor that made me exclaim "Home Again, Home Again," is the fact that I finally signed a lease on an apartment today right after work--or really, right before after-work. (Interesting that I have chosen to let go anchor chain in a place called Anchorage.) Then during the real after-work period, I loaded up belongings and hauled them over to my new port. But not Newport, remember; it's Anchorage.
I signed a lease, picked up keys and staked a claim with a roll of toilet tissue in the bathroom and a handful of boxed belongings in the living room. When my landlady showed me up to the apartment, we looked around, left and walked out the door. I began following her down the hall and she stopped to ask me, "Aren't you going to lock your door?" That's when it clicked. No, not the lock, the idea that I had actually finally alighted. (Still mixing metaphors, you say? Well, maybe I'm a gull or an albatross or a puffin!)
Yes, I know it's just an apartment--yet another rental in a long line of places that aren't really mine, but it's my home now, and if for some unexplained reason it turns out to be less permanent than even the last couple of months of parking my toothbrush at temporary stations, I am still rejoicing that I have a home again--jiggedy dadgum jog!
It actually is in the shelter of the bay in that Anchorage is a port city and my apartment is right downtown with a spectacular 180-degree-plus view of Cook Inlet, Mt. McKinley 300 miles away, Mt. Susitna (and other mountains off in the distance,) the ship yard and Ship Creek where people go to watch people look at fish.
I'm happy. I haven't been unhappy, though, as I've been cruising to this point. Who could be unhappy working in Montana or driving the Alcan or staying in the work-residence where my shipmates and I have formed close-quarter alliances and shared mermaid stories? Metaphorically speaking, of course.
It hasn't been just working or driving or staying--it's been...well, it's been something I don't quite have words for at the moment. Living, I guess. Sharing head space. Getting along with life. Receiving and relinquishing keys.