The election is over -- well, for now at least.
Our summer has been inundated with phone calls, knocks on our doors and full-color glossy photographs with a paragraph on each one telling us why to vote for their particular candidate. At this point, we should all be experts on the very finite details of oil taxes -- instead we are likely more overwhelmed by the minutiae.
Well, it’s over, we have survived, what Alaska Dispatch News reported yesterday as the most expensive primary election in Alaska’s history, and we don’t have to do this again until November, which gives us plenty of time to enjoy the fall.
To many, the beginning of fall signals the end of summer and the entrance of winter. The leaves turn to yellow, orange and red, the breeze becomes brisk, and Alaskans wait for rain to turn to snow. People joke that in Alaska we have three seasons: summer, breakup and winter.
Those people are missing out.
Spring gets all the buzz. It’s the star walking down the red carpet with reporters shoving microphones and cameras in its face while discussing the latest blockbuster. Spring is hanging out with the starlets and posing for photographs.
Spring’s accolades are well earned. After a long cold winter, the warm air, sunshine and ability to wear t-shirts and shorts is a special kind of luxury -- especially here in Alaska.
A.A. Milne said of spring, “She turned to the sunlight, and shook her yellow head and whispered to her neighbor: ‘Winter is dead.”
Autumn has its own kind of swag.
French-Algerian novelist Albert Camus said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
This is one of the greatest times of year. It brings football season, crisp air, the Alaska State Fair and hoodies. In the fall the world bursts into colors that would make influential painter Jackson Pollock stand up and take notice -- in fact it did, and inspired some of his greatest abstract expressionist artwork.
Just as spring leaves behind winter, August leaves behind our contentious primary election. While we are simply 56 days away from the general election – we will see a slowdown on the campaigns while everybody regroups, strategizes and gets back to it again.
In the meantime, enjoy what the season has to offer.
Walking along Alaska’s trails as they're covered with the various shades of yellows and browns. Watching the leaves fall down around your feet as the crisp cool air fills your lungs.
There will be rain, the temperature will drop, we will see more clouds than sun, and the days will get progressively shorter, but it is, by far, the most beautiful time of year.
The midnight sun turns into the middle of the afternoon dusk, but in the process we see some scenes that words could never possibly capture.
Another big benefit that fall brings is the state fair, which starts tomorrow. Carnival rides, fried cheese curds, spinach bread, turkey legs and all of those people you haven’t seen in decades walking down those familiar color-coded trails.
There will be rows of beautiful bunnies, every kind of flower imaginable and "Alaska Grown" vegetables larger than anyone could ever imagine.
Republicans and Democrats will be at it again soon enough. There are major battles to be fought over one of Alaska’s two U.S. Senate seats, the governor’s office as well as ballot measures on marijuana, the minimum wage and Bristol Bay.
The money will flow again, the yard signs will reappear, and our landscape will once again be covered with various politicians’ names from local districts and all around the state. The elephants and donkeys will all work as hard as they can to work you up into a furor and exclaim that the end of the world is near if you don’t darken the circle next to their name.
However, we have time on our side. Our mailboxes and airwaves are fairly free of propaganda for a while, and there are still plenty of wonderful fall activities to enjoy. Don’t fall into the melancholy trap of fall, appreciate it for what it is, in all its glory and enjoy this brief intermission in the election season.
Mike Dingman is a fifth-generation Alaskan born and raised in Anchorage. He is a former UAA student body president and has worked, studied and volunteered in Alaska politics since the late 1990s. Email him at michaeldingman(at)gmail.com.
The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.