We are clever people, we Alaskans. We manage to inject fatalism into even the most glorious of summer days.

I was walking the dogs past a quintessential Alaskan lake. You know the one, shared by people fishing skiffs, paddling kayaks, swimming and landing seaplanes. As I walked around the lake I was admiring the fireweed, some of it up to my shoulder (*gulp*) and I found myself unconsciously counting the number of flowers yet to bloom.

You see, we have this… superstition. You can tell the severalty of the coming winter by the hight of the fireweed, and the winter will start 6 weeks after all of the buds bloom. It’s kind of like a very weird courting candle; once the fireweed blows out, the date is over.

Here’s the thing… we also count the start of summer with the arrival of the fireweed. We have literally created a mythos where the very beginning of summer heralds its end. How cleverly fatalistic is that?