Whither the sun, its charms an elixir. I can't remember who wrote that but today is was on display in Sitka, AK: a full grown man with a nice sized pot belly skate boarding down the middle of the main street of town, taking sweeping turns across both lanes with a police car behind him, kicking his board up in front of the bar and walking in with a tip of his hat as if the cop were valet parking his rig... and the cop drives on without incident. Men who drink to excess as their occupation down on a small beach near the science center with their pants rolled up and enjoying their drinks like proper picnickers in the sunshine. Men and women with shorts and tank tops on, exposing skin that hasn't seen sun for probably ten months, now turning a shocking pink in some cases and in others a fine haze of red on of their brown skin. Smiles on faces that haven't smiled in months. Even the drunks in the darkest bars have sunburns.
A lovely mania comes with spring in Alaska. At the Public Defender we will still have our share of crimes. People will overdo. Reckless people will be reckless. But still, spring crimes usually have a different feel to them. More outward and exuberant. I saw and old friend walk out of the bar today and he was a bit unsteady, but he had a swagger and a bounce in his step, squared, shoulders like a boxer coming out of his corner and a slight bounce, even though he was having a hard time keeping his balance. He had a fresh burn on his skin. He looked like he had just finished winter King fishing, He had money in his pocket. He had been drinking most of the night before and the day. He had friends in town. It was sunny and he could lay down to sleep almost anywhere and he would wake up in a lucky, beautiful world. No one should argue with a man in such a mood, for such a man believes himself to be invincible, and at that moment he is.
Such is the effect of sunshine in the spring. Just as strong as the light gloss of a suntan on a small child after a winter of sniffles and colds of staying inside a trailer house watching cartoons. Today her mom takes her to the beach and strips her diapers off and lets her walk for the first time naked in the sand, Her sensitive skin exposed for the very first time to the sun. The baby laughs and dabbles in the water and screams and laughs and pulls away and slaps at the strangeness of it all: through her mothers eyes she sees a world so new and vast and beautiful it almost makes it worth considering staying on in this town another year.
And when we go to bed tonight we'll all feel the touch of heat the sun left on our skin and we'll wonder if, in this wet country, sunshine should be what we are baptized in.
Spring day, mow the lawn
the dandelions won't mind
they will multiply!