Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Mists of Time

It's a cool misty day here in the Greatland. That in itself is a blessing - we've been BLAZING hot up here for weeks, and half the state is on fire. It's been so hazy with trapped humidity and smoke for the last 2 weeks that there have been days on end where not even the dusky ghosts of the mountains have been visible - and this is somewhat remarkable, since I am nearly surrounded by mountains, two ranges of which are quite near by. Some mornings on my way to work it looked more like the Great Smokies than Alaska, the moist nightly expirations of the plants rising mistily from narrow alleys of marsh fingering in between the ramparts of the trees. The scent of fire has been hanging in the air, faintly ominous, for more than a week. Fire danger is high all over, and nary a bit of rain. One night this week when I drove home from work it was 89 degrees, and as muggy as ever the East coast was when I lived there, struggling under the paired yokes of heat and humidity.

WHY did I move to Alaska, again?

Oh, yeah. Because I love it here.

Today it's deliciously cool - 55 degrees at 5 a.m. when I got up and looked at the thermometer - and the low overcast is scattering the light into a diffuse pearly glow that seems to come both from nowhere, and from everywhere at once. The air is soft and tender and sweet, without the edgy bite of wildfire. Soft veils of fog hover 20 feet above the ground, and mist is rising off the lake to meet them. The water is glassy-calm, inert and heavy as mercury in the still morning. Ducks paddle gently along, dragging sliver-edged wakes behind them. I can hear the loons, shrouded invisibly in the mist, their voices eerie and beautiful, haunting the morning.

Nearer by, and more prosaically, the magpies are squabbling vociferously over something. As I tend to leave my back yard door open at night- the yard is fenced to discourage wandering wildlife, and if that does not suffice, five dogs in the house usually DO - I am pleased the magpies have something to interest them in the yard. It has not occurred to me until this morning, but the magpies could quite easily swoop on in through my open door and wreak havoc in my kitchen. They're noisy, messy, inquisitive birds, like all the corvids, and between boldness, greed and curiosity, God only knows what might tempt them indoors. As it happens, I have an absolute plethora of them this year; it appears I have a nest on my property, as there are mornings when I can count at least 5 fledgelings in the trees along my driveway, all hopping wildly into the trees as I drive by them, not quite fully-flighted yet.

This morning I have a parvo puppy in the clinic to go attend to, so when I wake up at 5:00, I get up and do the dog chores. I try to nap a little - it's far too early to call the client and update them, and treatments aren't due til 8:00 - but in the end I can do no better than doze, so I get up and go to the clinic. The roads are deserted at 6:40 on a Sunday morning, and it's a beautiful drive in; closer to town there are small breaks in the mist, and the sun is peering through a lacy crenellation of clouds, shedding angel slides broad and deep into the Valley. These are tinged in peach and rose and gold, perhaps due to the early hour, perhaps a gift of the smoke.

My parvo puppy is slightly better this morning - she is wagging her tail and has been drinking enough to stay hydrated, which is a good thing since she has removed her IV catheter all by herself. I clean her cage and offer food, in which she is not yet interested. I let her play on the floor of the isolation ward while I clean up after her, and then I sit and cuddle her for a while - she's lonely all by herself, and as it is Sunday and we're closed, there are no other puppies coming in that I can contaminate with virus. Before I leave today I will launder my clinic coat so that I am not a walking disease vector come Monday morning.

So now I am here in the clinic, deserted but for me, Pepper and the parvo pup, updating my blog. I have other treatments to do later for the pup, and rather than drive back and forth all day, I've elected to camp here for the moment. You've all been more than patient and kind about waiting for me to get back to the blogging - I'll apologize for my protracted absence, but life has been conspiring to keep me a bit overwhelmed of late. But since I am here at work, there are no household chores calling; and since we are closed, I have no appointments to see or call-backs to make. I have only the one in-hospital case, so I had before me an hour, maybe two, of un-scheduled time in which to catch up, make amends, and rekindle the habit of blogging.

I hope you'll all forgive me my lapses. There's more to the story, of course, but I'll save that for later.

You didn't think you'd get off THAT easy, did you?

19 comments:

Holly said...

Welcome back! I missed you! I looked for you often, thinking perhaps I had missed an update. Good luck to the parvo puppy, it sounds like she's going to make it.

EvenSong said...

GLAD to have you back! Hope nothing was terribly amiss. Waiting for the promised updates.

KC said...

Welcome back, I've missed you. I hope the parvo puppy gets well soon.

Pat said...

Welcome back! I have been watching and waiting. I enjoyed your blog so much I didn't want to delete my link to it, even though you had been silent for so long.
Here's to you!

Karl Katzke said...

Get off easy? Bah! We're just glad to hear from you again!

Cue the conspiracy theories: ADKK is actually Sarah Palin, and resigned her governorship to return to blogging about dogs and sheep. ;)

Corrie said...

I followed a link from Hedra's blog, and was delighted to find someone who is in Alaska too. I grew up here and moved out for school, and have been back since June.

I hope you are enjoying the sunshine - I know I am!

Beth said...

Sooo glad you are back :) Can't wait for the rest of the story.

Flo said...

YAY! You're back! (please stay that way.)

I've missed reading your stories, and I'm glad to see you have some downtime (even if it's only an hour, and you're still technically at work).

anissa7118 said...

Glad you're back! I'm on the opposite side of the country from you - here in hellish Florida - and your poetic descriptions of Alaska make me want to throw everything I own into a car and just drive up there.

In case no one has told you so lately, your blog is beautifully written AND has fascinating content. Please keep us all updated.

Barb said...

Yay! So glad you are back!

And thank you for the beautiful prose - I really needed the little mental vacation to a cool, misty world. Today was our 14th day of 100+ temps - it's getting reeeealllyyy old.

I could use an ACTUAL vacation to such a place of course, but the only trip coming up for us is the big shows in Houston this coming weekend... can you say "out of the frying pan, into the fire?" Ugh. Fortunately the Reliant Center has great air conditioning.

Della said...

Hallelujah, you're back! Missed your posts and was thinking in the last couple days... "surely she should be back by now..." lol ~Della

BCxFour said...

We have missed you...welcome back.

I need orange said...

Welcome back!

Sending good thoughts to the parvo pup.

goatgirl said...

Thank goodness you're back. I got a little tried of clicking on here and seeing "Lambing Ate My Life". Not that I didn't enjoy that post but I was ready to move on:)
Oh my goodness Karl...I certainly hope she's not Sarah Palin.

AKDD said...

Thanks, guys! Sorry I was away so long... life does that sometimes.

And no, I am NOT secretly Sarah Palin. She is MUCH better looking, I assure you! :D

Meanwhile thx for the kind remarks about my writing... and now you mention it, Corrie, I AM enjoying the sunshine. The smoke - not so much. I'm cracking up that you found my blog via Hedra's... the internet makes for a small world, I guess. Hedra is nowhere near as close to you geographically as I am, yet hers was the link theat led you to a "home-court" blog. Funny how that works.

Meanwhile the parvo puppy went home yesterday, eating and wagging her tail. I love it when a plan comes together!

Dragon43 said...

Waves::::

So manny big words... Pretty though...

Was about to enlist Tranq for detective duty....

Your blog is on my splash page.....

You any good with knees??? Mine has gone south.... Will learn more the 21st...

I'd rather be a puppy in your hospital....

:::: mumble, mumble :::

MaskedMan said...

Good for the parvo pup - Nice to learn it made it.

89 and humid? You've got a Delaware summer. Meanwhile, we appear to have gotten yours... Highs not more than mid-80s, cool nights, low humidity, fair amount of rain (though there's been none for the last 9 days, that'll change tomorrow - in spades). Did our summer weather packages get swapped in the mail somewhewre?

Meanwhile, you visibilty sounds like Los Angeles at it's worst. I also recall the summer that the Florida panhandle went up in flame, and it was much like that - thick, hazy, smelly, acrid air leaving soot marks and stench on everything. Are you getting ashfall from the fires? That was the thing about the Florida fires that bugged & worried me the most - Live embers drifting down from the sky, dozens of miles, and more, downwind.

Beth K said...

maskedman - i went through delaware last week en route to VA Beach. Interesting state!

Glad you are back in the writing world! Its a great treat to come back from vacation - had to get out of the RAIN in New Hampshire - We had 30days straight of rain. Had to go to Virginia to get some sun and warmth to wash off the mold - and find you have blogged again. Woot!

KansasBrendan said...

If you ever think you'd have a good Hot Button column in you--you know, something spicy and controversial or a practice pet peeve--we'd love to pay you for it. -- Brendan Howard, Veterinary Economics, bhoward at advanstar dot com