Eklutna Lake, Alaska, USA by Mark Clafshenkel

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Picture Story

Seasonal transitions are abrupt in Alaska. Not just the residents but the land itself becomes anxious for sun and twenty plus hours of daylight after being wearied by a long winter’s cold, gray darkness. Break-up, after winning the battle over winter, wastes no time yielding to summer. There is no time for spring and languidly relishing in rebirth. Summer has not much more than 12 weeks to heat the earth, to yield food and satisfy the outdoor activities and opportunities of humans and animals alike. Ephemeral Fall is a busy time of harvest and hunting and, for wildlife, mating, bulking up and denning in before the first snows.

Some days, like the day this image was taken, Winter becomes impatient for it’s 28 to 30 week reign and encroaches upon Autumn making it’s presence known. Rime ice suffocates the already dying marsh grass. Trees and brush are frosted and ice crystals are infused in the dirt and air. Still, the sun will clamor up the spine of mountains and rest heavily on the peaks riding the horizon but for fewer hours each day. When winter tires from toying with the sun it will come quietly, resoundingly and man will see only white earth and slate skies.

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