It’s Easter weekend. I’ve read the inserts in my morning paper and tossed them aside, for they are full of frilly dresses, strappy shoes, and lawn-lounging equipment. Alaska woke up to a foot of snow on Monday morning, followed by -18F temperatures that, accompanied by bright sunshine, sent some of us into orbit with pleasure, and other families back to the den for more hibernation. Springtime in Alaska is as bipolar, weather-wise, as you can get, and Easter is always a bit on the funky side, which fits AK Fam this year, since we feel a bit funky, ourselves.
March flew by with nary a backward glance, and our family has had some challenging moments, so we’re happy to see April on the horizon. Today, as I stared into depths of my dirty refrigerator searching in vain for eggs I could have sworn I purchased on Tuesday (where ARE they?), I made a decision.
We are going to do Easter differently, this year.
No colored eggs – AK Kid and I made cookie people, shamrocks, stars, circles, wolves, and ducks, instead. I imagine the Good Lord will be laughing at our cast of primary-colored characters, but it’s the effort that counts, right?
No dressing up – We’ll be heading outside this weekend, exploring the wonderous, snowy-white world of our community. Perhaps a little snowshoeing at the close-in but completely peaceful Ruth Arcand Park, just off Abbott Road in Anchorage. AK Kid has been learning about wayfinding and directions, so maybe we’ll just play a little game of Predator and Prey among the spruce trees, and in the shadow of nearby Chugach foothills. Other great snowshoe/Nordic ski venues are found along the Eagle River Nature Center trails (the center is closed but trails are always open!), Palmer Hayflats, Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks, and Campbell Tract in Anchorage. Here is a short tutorial for showing kids the basics of compass use, and we have tons of fun chasing the “prey” as they leave little notes for our intrepid explorers (predators).
Or, maybe we’ll check out the fun at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, where an 11 a.m. Easter party starts with a hayride, hot dog lunch, and egg hunt. I think the bears even get their own eggs! A nice family drive along the Seward Highway to Portage, and a great place to visit with kids.
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies in Homer is hosting the last of their Family Bonfire series on Sunday, too. If we were down on the Kenai Peninsula, you can bet we’d be there to roast some marshmallows (or Peeps?), take a guided snowshoe hike, or inspect some animal tracks. If you’re there, and want to participate, head up to the Wynn Nature Center around 3 p.m., and let us know if the Easter Bunny shows up.
What else? Oh, yes. Celebrate the “We.” As in “Us”, the concept of family, friends, and whoever else makes up your unit of happiness. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Build a fire at a local campground and cook a special Easter breakfast before taking off for that ski or snowshoe trek. Take dinner to a neighbor with no family in town.