The stately and picturesque Fireweed is one of the beautiful and ubiquitous flowers of Fairbanks, second only to the Forget-Me-Not in iconic symbolism of the boreal forest and the tundra. Especially what with the billions of acres burned across Alaska this particular year and given the plant's propensity at proliferating in the smoking wreckage of the land. From Arctic Science Journeys: "...each fireweed is a living, blooming chronometer of summer, brilliantly marking the season's progress." Yeah, so in other words it's basically a harbinger of doom to some of us locals.
On a side note this panel in particular is one of the handful of recent postings over on the Book of Faces that for some reason went "viral" (within the context of a very small, thickly forested corner of the world): I calculated based on the rate of sharing - given the privacy settings of most folks, only a quarter of the initial shares had friends lists open to public viewing - 25k people potentially saw it within the first 24-hours of uploading. After the weekend shares grew (the only kind of shares I'll ever have) to the 500 mark, with over 75k potential pairs of eyeballs viewing it (again, that's approximately only a quarter of the audience) so coupled with publication in the print media + here on the blog, one could extrapolate a statistical rate conceivably eclipsing the half-million mark. Which is all very cool, heady stuff while sitting in an outhouse by a cabin in the wooods in the middle of Alaska, but in reality the only audience I deliberately stay conscious of, or one could say cater to, is an extremely limited subset of a regional base that will "get it." Perhaps even more important is having the Significant Otter + a disinterested cat as an editorial review committee... the first round of objective feedback is a humbling perspective - "keepin' it real."
But in keeping with the theme of going to seed, it's a little lesson in how things we create sometimes ripple out and begin to touch others way out on the periphery in ways that you'll just never really know. There's a sort of centering that takes place with such awareness, between the opposing extremes of complete and total isolation and that of relative popularity, like an acrobat on a highwire that tips first one way and than the other in order to find a personal balance. As a metaphor it's not all that different than facing down the barrel of another impending winter: you can go from despair to freaking out and losing it, but in the end it's a matter of soldiering on regardless.