Monday, July 27, 2009

Tick-Tock Summer's Clock


Summer’s clock is ticking. On our hike this weekend we saw that Mt. Alyeska had a beautiful carpet of Fireweed. Though beautiful, Alaskans know that the Fireweed is Summer’s clock and signals our lightening fast Summer is coming to an end. When the delicate petals of the pink flowers reach the top of the stalk and the flower goes to seed, winter is just two months away! When the Fireweed goes to seed, it forms a thin cotton like fiber that blows away with the Fall winds. I have been inspired to create metal sculptures of wildflowers as the Fireweed changes with our seasons. 

Native Alaskans have used the fireweed root for topical medicine and the blossoms as a dye. Many people use the Fireweed shoots in salads and to make yummy Fireweed honey. I like to capture images of flowers to use as reference during our cold, dark winter months. During the snowy winter at -20 below zero, it’s easy to forget how Alaska’s flowers look in their summer glory. The famous Bake 

Shop in Alyeska for years have hosted a Begonia and Dahlia show for locals and 

visitors. After our hike, I took a couple of pictures of the flowers before they are claimed by the wind and rain and eventually frost. We even noticed the top of Raven Glacier had a light dusting of snow… Our clock is ticking, and the Fireweed is a signal for all Alaskans 

to get out and enjoy the last bits of summer. For me it's a reminder to get busy creating while the Shop and steel are still warm!

8 comments:

Linda Starr said...

Hi Cindy, I never knew so much would grow in Alaska. Blue poppies and now dahlias. The fireweed is beautiful and I love that nature is observed to foretell the upcoming change in season. Here we say when the oak trees leaf out there will be no danger of frost, but that isn't always true, occasionally things get a bit of frost. I love your wildflower sculpture, how wonderful to capture some of that wild color in a sculpture. Yesterday I was noticing the sun here is setting a bit sooner, I can't wait for the cooler weather, but our winters, if you can call them that, are nothing like yours. Looks like the fireweed still has a little way to go, but time does fly as they say.

Judy Shreve said...

How cool that such a beautiful summer flower signals the end of warm weather. I could not live in that climate -- I am definitely solar powered.

Your wildflower sculpture would keep any Alaskan remembering your short summer -- it's beautiful. I guess you learn to be really appreciative of what nature gives you during the warm months.

Orion Designs said...

ummm Cindy ... I think it's way too early to even be discussing the "topping out" of the fireweed

Just sayin'

cindy shake said...

Hi Linda! Yes, hard to believe all that grows here. There is an amazing trade-off for our Midnight Sun summer days... a quick fall and early winter.

Thank you for the kind words Judy. I love having four seasons, just wish they could be a bit more balanced out! I may be solar powered too -I'm having a hard time getting motivated after all that WA sun Gus and I basked in last week :o)

Vicki, you know it's true! It was seeing the snow on top of Raven Glacier that made me say it -PLUS this is an El Nino year and that could mean crazy weather ANYTIME now. I'm probably just mourning my fading tan now that we're back home...

ang said...

wow already, summer can't be over yet it's still raining here ....still....although the apricot tree has started with the blossom and i haven't pruned it yet ... maybe the wkd.

cookingwithgas said...

Summer is over way too soon for you! Of course from reading your blog you are out there enjoying and soaking in as much as you can.
It is still a sad adjustment to winter- but then there is snow and winter trips I hope.

Cynthia said...

Winter 2 months away??? Say it ain't so!!!

I forget how far north you are... We can get snow in the Rockies in the summer - in fact been caught in snow in July unprepared while camping when we first moved here. But - not really Denver.

The wild flower inspired sculpture is fantastic!

cindy shake said...

hi Ang! Hope you will make something yummy from your apricots!

Yes, Meredith we're very chameleon-like and admit the hubby and I were actually talking about the upcoming ski season last weekend (pretty bad huh?)!

hi Cynthia! thank you. We were thinking of you as my hubby is finishing all his remodel projects before school starts Aug. 13th for him (kids go back 8/19)! We still have a bit of time before the snow flies -they say two months after the Fireweed is bloomed out. But it's halfway up the stalk!