Can you feel it in the air?
They are coming.
Not the dust, the puddles and the late-spring flurries – no – they have already been here for quite some time.
What I am speaking of are the new people, the fresh faces, the Cheechakos, the individuals simply known as “the transients”.
They come from all over, for a summer in the Yukon.
Some become baristas and live at Robert Service Campground, busking on Main Street and jamming at the occasional open mic.
Others hail from Ontario, eager for a slower pace, a change from the daily grind of packed street cars and lack of eye contact.
Some have come North to work a six-month contract with the Yukon Government, lured here by the comfortable wage and a chance to really put a dent in the student loan.
And a few are just thrill-seekers looking for another adventure, whether it be a paddle from Whitehorse to Dawson, a trek over the Chilkoot Trail or a month or two alone in a secluded cabin.
With the pending arrival of these transients, there is an element of excitement for those who already call the Yukon home.
Their much-anticipated arrival means a little change-up to the regular cast of the motley characters who make up the territory.
The monotonous, casual encounter of a familiar face on Main Street will soon be replaced with a look of curiosity as the Sourdough analyzes the latest arrival.
Their routine, everyday swagger down Main slows to an investigative pace.
Who’s that? they think to themselves.
Are they new?
All this rushing through their head as eye contact is slowly made.
Perhaps a new co-worker, a new friend, a teammate or even a lover, they ponder to themselves.
One day, if you’re bored, grab a seat outside one of the many coffee shops on Main Street and watch as this very encounter unfolds.
Like a bear-spotting, you might not see it the first time but, eventually, if you are patient, you’ll see one, two, perhaps even a half-dozen.
Yes, spring is an exciting time for many in the Yukon.
The snow has begun to melt.
The endless abundance of puddles have formed.
And the thick skin of dirt that formed on our vehicles lets us know summer is nearing.
But the real sign that stubborn Old Man Winter is gone, for at least a few months, is when someone new makes your morning mocha, belts out a tune at karaoke and causes a double-take on Main.
Transients, we welcome you here, even if it is just for a few months.
We understand that is the reality: possibly, some of you will stay through the winter or, perhaps, like so many previous, you may even realize just what a gem this place is and set up shop for a while.
Whatever it is, we’re happy to have you.
But, be warned: if we ask you how long you’re up here for, while staring with a glazed-over look, don’t be offended – it’s just the way some Yukoners flirt.