The calendar reads spring, but in the far north winter still holds its grasp upon the land. Nights are frigid, with temperatures occasionally plunging past 30 below zero. Two months ago, the sun returned, jumping above the horizon and providing a few moments of light, without offering any sort of warmth. In the interim, the days have been steadily lengthening, up to a maximum of 12-14 minutes of additional light per day. As of a few weeks ago, the sun is high enough in the sky to provide enough heat, resulting in a great diurnal variance in temperatures. In the warm afternoon sun, water begins to slowly drip from roof edges as the snowpack starts to melt. The afternoon has begun to take on a feeling almost of summer as the sun bounces off the snow, further radiating warmth.
In terms of lifestyle, things are currently in a state of flux. The trapping season is largely over. At this time, freezers remain relatively well stocked from hunting excursions last fall and without caribou in the area, there is no large species to pursue. Some residents take advantage of the still frozen waterways to travel along the river, cutting wood to add to their stock for future winters. Otherwise, it is a period of waiting. Winter hasn’t yet ended and spring has yet to begin. For now, residents are content to enjoy the bright skies and ensuing warm days. Soon, the Arctic spring will arrive and with it millions of birds migrating north. Ducks and geese will be sought after, as well as caribou if needed and they are present.
Here near winter’s end, springtime is finally within sight just beyond the horizon.