The winds of change have been roaring through our little town by the bay — but yeah, that pretty much explains fall, aye? Boy howdy did we get a pineapple express whooshing into town on Tuesday night. If you didn’t catch any of our mellow fall colors, well, c’est la vie as they say in France. Those leaves got blown back to Canada. Based on lights flickering all over town, the winds might have taken a few power poles, too.
Connoisseurs of autumn, particularly transplanted New Englanders, might sneer at an Alaska autumn. True, we don’t get many leaf peepers like they do in Vermont. Fall in Alaska demands a finer appreciation, a subtle understanding of light down in the yellow range of the spectrum.
New England might have maple trees in brilliant reds and purples. That can be flashy, true. Gardeners bring a bit of that to our scenery with ornamental bushes, as our most brilliant gardening columnist, Rosemary Fitzpatrick, notes.
We get yellow — mellow, calming and soothing. Our cottonwood tree leaves glow with a deep, slightly orange tinted hue. Our birches and aspens have a lively, bright colored leaf. Sitka rose bushes turn yellow from the middle out, marked by fading spines of green. With this weird summer we’ve had, we also have received the extra gift of late blooming roses. Imagine that: rose flowers on the same bush as rose hips. There’s your red, citizens.
Well, that and the mountain ash berries. The leaves might be gone on some trees, but the berries remain, bright spots luring in flocks of Bohemian wax wings. With a cold snap, those berries might turn to wine, so watch out for tippling Bohos.
That’s fall in Alaska, Betsteroids: glorious, subtle and intoxicating. You don’t need frequent flyer miles to Boston to see it. Magnificence enough exists right here in our back yard.
So put on your rain coat, pull on your boots and seize the season, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST GRACIOUS BET: The time of giving thanks and giving back is drawing near. In that spirit, head to the Community Harvest Meal from 5-7 p.m. tonight at Homer United Methodist Church. This is free to the community.
BEST MAKE IT SEW BET: The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies is hosting “Be A Maker!” from 5:30-7:30 p.m. tonight at the center. This is a sewing bee for Boomerang Bags, which are reusable bags made to be distributed around town. This is led by the Kenai Peninsula Campus Semester by the Bay students. Boomerang Bags are upcycled, washable, fabric bags that are easy to use and re-use. People are needed to cut, sew and stamp. No experience is necessary and this is open to people of all ages.
BEST BOOK ‘EM BET: The Fall Book & Plant Members-only Pre-sale will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Homer Public Library. Memberships for the Friends of the Homer Library start at $15 and members get first pick of the fabulous book and plant loot. Bonus: Alaska topographic maps are on sale for $1 each only at the Pre-Sale. Dessert will also be available during this pre-sale. The non-members sales is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Anyone who wants to volunteer to help with the fundraiser can email email@example.com. Also, donations of plants can be dropped off on Oct. 24 and 25.
Please bring your donated plants to sell on October 24 and 25.
BEST GET SMART BET: Head to Kachemak Bay Campus at 6 p.m. Friday to see “Traditional Knowledge, Science and Conservation on Our Seas: We’ll Never Know Everything but We’re Going to Act Anyway” by Dr. Henry Huntington. This is a free presentation. Huntington studies human-environment interactions in Alaska, the Arctic, and beyond, and also works at Ocean Conservancy to conserve the Arctic marine environment in light of climate change and industrial development. He has been involved in a number of international research programs and was co-chair of a U.S. National Academy of Sciences committee on emerging research questions in the Arctic and a member of the Council of Canadian Academies panel on the state of knowledge of food security in the North.