Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Volcano Sunset

Looking west across Cook Inlet as Redoubt Volcano sends as ash plume north toward Anchorage. Mount Iliamna--another volcano--sits quietly to the left.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

On the Horizon

Although we can see three active volcanoes from our house, Mt. Redoubt is the one that can be lost in the treeline along our northern horizon.

If we stand in just the right spot on the deck, we can see the steam cloud from the volcano through a gap in the trees over the top of the white Crown Victoria.

Hard to see in the big picture, so I trimmed it down. Mt. Redoubt is the source of the fluffy cloud in the middle of the picture.

As cool as it is to have an erupting volcano in the neighborhood, its activity is often obscured by weather or the haze caused by its own venting.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ash Is Falling

Our first inkling came when the dark clouds moved in from the northwest.

The clouds seemed normal enough, except for the wisps of orange-lilac underneath the cloud front. It was too warm a color for our winter sky.

That was about two hours ago. I looked out the window a few minutes ago and noticed a fine, pale gray dust on the roof of the cat condo. Even as I watched, more particles were falling. It could only be volcanic ash.

Denny went out on the deck to look but came back inside when his eyes started to burn.

The snow that was fresh and white this morning is growing dingier by the minute. The big flakes of snow that are falling with the ash are coming down dirty, showing up as dark blots against the snowpack.

It is a good day to hunker down. We are lucky that we don't have to leave the house.


ETA: It's six-thirty and the sun is shining. In the window, Mimi watches the finches outside on the deck pecking for seeds amid the dirty snow.

The evening breeze moved the edge of the tarp covering the wood pile, revealing clean snow that had escaped the ashfall.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Doldrums of Winter

We are in the slack end of winter. The days are growing longer but the temperatures remain cold and the longer hours of light just reveal a frozen desert. Each day creeps by pretty much like the last. We are becalmed on the ice-choked sea of winter. Spring is in sight, a ghostly shape on the far horizon, but we cannot reach it yet.

This is the time when the winter season becomes most tedious--not during the dark of the year, those days lit by light and celebration, fresh snow and cozy homes. No, this is the bitter end-bone of the season, the traditional starving-time of winter when the root cellar and pantry were down to the last, least-favored supplies. Even now, despite modern grocery stores and air-fresh produce, I find myself longing for the fresh greens of spring, something full of life.