Archive for the ‘Random Weirdness’ Category

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI’m always startled into nostalgia when I come upon fireweed growing in Missoula. It’s such an Alaskan connection, my favorite wildflower and a vivid reminder of the decades I spent making the Last Frontier my home.



The alleyway that divides Missoula Textiles from Adventure Cycling is decidedly industrial. Walking back from my usual morning coffee I was delighted and surprised to spot this tenacious pioneer, struggling up through cracks in the hardscape. Like Alaskans, the fireweed is blossoming in a harsh environment, bringing beauty and a resolute spirit into the world and making me smile at the persistence of life.


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Hello? Hello! Anyone out there???

Thanks go to Stephen Pastis

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“The stars at night go twink-a-link-a-link-el, way up in the sky…”

AKA the Drinking Gourd

The Alaskan sky does a slow, seasonal pirouette, dancing gracefully between extremes of light and dark. In the ice cream midnight of June it’s not possible to glimpse the Dipper, Orion or even the brilliant, giant Jupiter.  White nights overpower white lights and all of nature goes without much sleep.

The shrieking cold of midwinter brings the Great Bear out of hibernation, the celestial natural order contrasting that of its earthly counterpart.  Even then, when the inky sky struts its twinkle lights to best advantage, the constellations are often overshadowed. Like an exotic dancer, their charms are first revealed, then concealed by Aurora’s gauzy skirts.

“The moon at night goes blink-a-link-a-link and shines right in my eye.”


Here in the northern latitudes the moon careens along a strangely irregular path. I confess that I do not understand the celestial mechanics involved. She rises in the east and sets in the west, indisputable, regular, constant.

But along that predictable track there are strange wanderings. I have seen her standing tall in the skyfield, shining her beam from directly above as if standing tip-toe in the tall grass. Other times, other seasons, Luna stoops low on the horizon, searching like an old woman for lost coins that might have rolled under the bed. Fat or spare, waxing or waning, her phase seems to have no bearing on her celestial inclination; feminine mystery embodied.

“Those skunks at night go stink-a-link-a-link; I wish they’d pass me by.”

Daisy and Flower

Skunks are mercifully absent from Alaska; by living here I have, in effect, passed them by. Here weasel, mink, otter and wolverine fill that biological niche. While all of these belong to the Mustelidae family of strong-smelling carnivores, none produce the distinctive aroma of the skunk; none use their odor as a weapon.

I knew a woman years ago who kept a skunk as a pet. Predictably, the skunk’s name was Daisy. She’d had her scent gland removed but was not neutered. This only presented a problem to Fish and Game, which frets about potentials; the lady herself never found a lover. We women joke that in Alaska “the odds are good, but the goods are odd”. This was not the case for Daisy, at least regarding the first part of that statement. However, the Tom-cat next door often looked confused.

“Oh twink-a-link-a-link, Oh blink-a-link-a-link,

Oh stink-a-link-a-link, Oh my!”

Oh my, indeed.

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