This has been the most amazing summer for fireweed I have ever known. Everywhere you look, huge fields of fireweed stun the eye, and looking off in the distance, hillsides are covered with the magenta hue. Along the Sterling Highway up to Soldotna there are sections that are brilliant, the blooms stretching as far as you can see. That has got to be the best part of having a warm summer--the fireweed.
The folklore is that once the flowers are done blooming (they start from the bottom and work their way up the stalk), summer is over. Right now they're about halfway up the stalk, but in some areas I noticed that the flowers that were done blooming were right next to the flowers that were still blooming so I'm not sure how much credence we can put on that. However, as we watch the blooms make their way up the fireweed stalk, we all know the clock is ticking, counting down the amount of time we have left for our frenetic Alaskan summer of activity.
Once they're done blooming, the seeds pop open, releasing fuzz, kind of like dandelion fuzz, except on a much larger scale. While I love the flowers in my yard, I am not a fan of having fireweed fuzz in all of my screens, and I suspect this fall it will look like it is snowing much earlier than usual because of the flying fuzz.
The intensity of the fireweed this year just matches the intensity of our lives. A few days ago it was cloudy for the first time in weeks, and it seemed like person after person I ran into said, "It's so good to get a cloudy day to catch up on inside things," and I shared their sentiment. When the weather is nice in Alaska, it seems like we are obligated to play, or at the very least work outside, because all too often the weather is not nice. It seems wrong to "waste" nice weather. Today is cloudy and cool for a change, so I can guiltlessly blog for a change!
|Portlock and Dixon Glaciers on the Kenai Mountain Range from Eveline Trails east of Homer. |
Great fields of fireweed grace the beautiful view of the glaciers.