Our Town – June 20, 2013

The Soupster savors local botany.

The Soupster savors local botany.

“Jack, your yard is like a Greatest Hits of Our Town’s flora,” the Soupster exclaimed, as he followed his friend on the deluxe tour of the grounds.

The plants in Jack’s yard were exclusively of the temperate rainforest variety – devil’s club, Indian celery, ferns, dogwood. Foxglove and fireweed. A naturally-occurring stand of wild blueberry whose robustness Jack pruned, weeded and tended as carefully as Tlingits did with their wild blueberry centuries ago. Big, big hemlocks. Sitka spruce, boughs heavy with bright green tips.

And Jack’s yard didn’t reflect just local botany — local zoology was represented, too. Especially the historical challenges of the dominant mammal – Homo Sitkians.

The Gold Rush? Jack found a gold coin nestled in the crack between two granite slabs poking out of one section of the yard. Five hundred bucks in five minutes and then nothing else for 20 years.

Avalanche? Jack suffered a sort of avalanche in the sloped portion nearest the house and had been compelled to get a speedy Do-it-Yourself education in foundation drainage techniques.

Seismic shakes? It shook the house real good when Jack’s pressure cooker exploded while he was putting up jam.

Maybe the worst was when Jack had been shut out of the Permanent Fund for three years after extending a Mexican vacation and repeatedly messing up the PFD application

The Soupster had only a few homemade Alaska jokes, but one of them was:

Q: What’s more Alaskan that having a backhoe in your back yard? A: Having a broken backhoe in your front yard.

The lushness of early summer in Our Town always made the Soupster happy. Mountains plunging directly into the sea is a pretty heady combination, even during the worst October. But mountains plunging directly into the sea is more compelling with a lush band of lighter green right at the point of contact.

Number two, all the alder leaves and salmonberry bushes covered up the thousands of practical, but not necessarily aesthetic, choices made constantly by Homo Sitkians – like the aforementioned broken backhoe.

No backhoe in Jack’s yard, though, front or back. In Jack’s yard it was just green. Green, green and more green, and occasionally Jack.


Want to Submit a Listing to the Soup?

Send us a message and we'll post it online and in the next printed Soup.