This is a tough time of year for Alaskans.
The winter just passed seems to be gone, but we're all aware that it can come roaring back in a heartbeat, dumping two or three feet of snow in a short time. I give you, as example, April 27th of 2008 - when we received 27 inches of snow in about 12 hours' time.
But in the meantime, the snow that's already here is receding. Sunny days and cold nights produce bare spots where the afternoon sun is strongest, and leaves the compacted snow two feet deep in shadier spots.
We look longingly at the sunshine outside, but are reminded each time we step outside that it only looks warm. The picture above was taken just a few moments ago, and the temp is 37 degrees. Any breezes bring windchills in the teens and 20s, and the ground is still cold and hard.
Once the frost thaws far enough down (it's some nine feet deep right now, much of which never melts - hence "permafrost") we'll see buds appearing at the tips of branches, and even some tiny shoots of grass will begin to appear.
But until then, we look at the calendar ... then outside ... and sigh.