Snow stake the afternoon of April 8. Comparison with last week's will show how slowly clean snow is melting. (No, we haven't had any additional snow.)

The sun rose at 6:36 this morning and will set at 9:08 this evening, for 14 hours 35 minutes of daylight — we’re still gaining 6 min 48 seconds a day. We’re paying for it, though, as it never gets completely dark at night. The sun never dips more than 18° below the horizon, so while it’s probably darker than most of North America (minor street light pollution) it never quite reaches astronomical night. The stars come out, but we can’t see the faintest ones. (I can’t anyway, so I have to say the only personal effect on me is the longer evenings.)

Breakup has definitely arrived. The white ice on streets and parking lots is either soft enough that tires sink in, or has been replaced by pools of water. Since the ground is generally colder than the sun-heated surface, drainage culverts are full of ice and the parking lots, especially those with dips, become ponds. The steam thawing trucks will be out soon, though I haven’t seen any yet.

Clean snow is sagging from internal melt. I’ve been watching the snow sag against the snow stake. It’s down to about 21” now, but it seems an awfully slow process. Darkened areas, or those next to something like a tree or wall, are melting much faster. I have bare patches showing where I had several inches of white ice in the driveway, and shrubs that were surrounded by tents of snow are now the focus of hollows.

Speaking of those nice long evenings, I’m planning to attend the opera this coming Friday. Yes, in Fairbanks Alaska. Opera Fairbanks, which bills itself as the farthest North professional opera company, is having a fund-raiser with P.D.Q. Bach’s The Stoned Guest and desserts. (Hooray for an insulin pump—though I don’t do this sort of thing very often.) It’s only a half act, and starts at 7, so I should be able to drive home. Sunset that day will be almost 9:30 in the evening. What, you’ve never heard of P.D.Q Bach? (1807-1742) Suffice it to say I expect all kinds of musical jokes.

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