As darkness begins to show itself again, the snowmobile have changed to speedboats, and the tuques to bug spray. After what seemed like weeks of rainy 4 degree days, last week the temperature was finally getting into the double digits and the fog was breaking up. The warming tundra is green and smells sweet and spiced. With the warmth the mosquito have become much more numerous. They are just everywhere; falling flattened out of my notebook, escaping into my apartment out of my backpack, flying into my mouth only to be swallowed. I’ve come to love the refuge I find in my bug shirt.
Last month when I jokingly asked someone, “So when does summer happen?”. He replied, “The third weekend in July.” I thought it was a joke then, but now I’m not so sure. Last weekend the temperature rose to about 20 degrees, but with the Arctic sun it felt warmer. It was wonderful: eating outside with other researchers, borrowing a kayak to go for a little paddle. I even jumped into the river and was almost glad for the numbness it caused because for once I was not itchy and I didn’t feel the pinch of new bites as I scrambled back under my bug shirt.
But alas, tomorrow is August, and with it should come cool temperatures again. I cannot believe how little of summer we saw. People say it’s unusually cool, but the elders say this was how it used to be.
Many of the plants are beginning to fruit now, but there are also many late bloomers.