"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Friday, May 14, 2010

But I Didn't Swear an Oath

Raindrops tapped at my windowpanes. Rogue winds whistled around, looking for a way to burgle my house. That infernal alarm clock went “beep, beep, beep,” the kind of high-pitched noise you can hear long after you deliver a roundhouse right to the snooze button.

If ever a morning was made for staying in bed, today was the one. If ever a morning was made for going back to bed after one got a glimpse of the weather, this most certainly was the one.

Outside temperature was down to 37 degrees and the new snow line uncomfortably close on the mountains. Ah, to slip back between the still-warm sheets, pull the covers over me and cocoon till noon. Gather the blanket tight around my neck to prevent any stray finger of cool air sneaking into my bed.

Not to be, though, not at all. And all because some bloomin’ over-achiever decided this should be the unofficial creed of the U.S. Post Office: And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, not the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds.

Sigh. It isn’t the sworn duty of postal carriers. They don’t have a creed. But like show business, the mail must go on. Besides, I’d given my word, and as a credentialed letter carrier I was sworn to deliver mail instead of going back to bed on a cold, rainy, windy Friday morning.

This was a double-layered long-sleeved day, a rarity for me. And off I went on the 130 mile route.

I drove through mixed rain and snow flurries through the higher elevation of Summit pass, then descended to the Hope road where the soft chartreuse of new leaves blanketed the forest. Drop off mail, wait an hour, pick up mail, drop off mail, back-tracking all the way to Tern Lake, then taking the right hand road to Cooper Landing.

There were absolute, positive signs that this is summer.

Rafters on Sixmile Creek, survivors of the Class V rapids.

Equestrians saddling up at the Resurrection trail.

Little rascal sorrel chewing on her partner's rein.

Businesses closed for the winter are open, yards being spruced up. Litter pickers with big yellow bags cleaning up the roadsides.

And finally, the proof positive: A boat, an RV, and a toy box, all heading south to the Kenai Peninsula, the summer playground of Alaska. This is a higher elevation and probably a week behind Hope in greening-up. This is very close to where I live.

It’s good for me to get out of the house. I know that. I know that even though I so wanted to go back to bed this morning. And I would have, except for two things:

My word for one. And that wretched unofficial postal creed.


  1. "...cocoon til noon." Now that's one catchy phrase, my friend.

    I imagine you enjoyed seeing the signs of spring in nature and in the activities of mankind. With slight effort I can also imagine that less humans and more nature becomes your earnest prayer as the tourist season progresses.

    We're expecting pleasant weather with temps in the 70s for most of the upcoming week so if things don't shape up in Moose Pass, come on down.

  2. And I especially like: "round house to the snooze button" and "soft chartreuse of new leaves."