A crow harasses a bald eagle on Friday, June 19, 2020, at the Halibut Campground in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A crow harasses a bald eagle on Friday, June 19, 2020, at the Halibut Campground in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Wouldn’t you know it, one moment we were begging the snow to leave, and the next we’ve watched Summer Solstice pass us by. A lot can happen when you’re distracted by a global pandemic and uprisings calling for racial justice.

The longest day of the year, which graced us this past Saturday, gives us the most sunlight we can expect out of the whole 366 days when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. Now we pivot and begin the slow turn back toward darkness. The Betster could say: It’s all downhill from here, folks. But that would be a little grim.

For many, Solstice symbolizes the official transition from Spring to Summer. A happy occasion, to be sure. Summer brings with it fresh veggies and vibrant flowers, and sunny days with friends to color our cheeks.

Others find deeper meaning in the phenomenon. The word itself comes from the Latin word solstitium, which is derived from sol, meaning sun and stitium, meaning still or stopped. Indeed, many find this the perfect time to stop and celebrate, stop and reflect, stop and be grateful for life’s blessings.

Solstice pre-dates the arrival of Christianity in many cultures. Pagan groups in parts of Europe have traditionally welcomed the Summer Solstice with bonfire celebrations for centuries. Gathering around a fire with friends remains a popular way to welcome the longest day. From the Vikings to Indigenous peoples of North America, Solstice has long been celebrated in myriad ways. It’s a day with many ancient meanings inexorably tied to the history and tradition of most cultures.

For many today, the Solstice can represent a time to take stock. A time to slow down, to listen and to set intentions for the rest of the year.

The Betster hopes that however you celebrated this year’s Summer Solstice brought you joy and, above all, maybe a little bit of peace. Rest is important when engaging in long, drawn-out crises like those facing our world today.

Homer in the summertime boasts no shortage of ways to rest, recharge, or just have fun. The Betster suggests you give it a try with some of these best bets:

BEST EMPOWERED BET: Join an upcoming community conversation — Empowered Mindset Self Defense at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Thursday, via Zoom, organized by the friends and family of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane. Presenter Stacey Mitry is a former FBI Agent and SWAT Sniper who currently thrives as a mom of two and is on a mission to educate and empower girls and women by teaching Empowered Mindset and Self Defense classes. As a former FBI Agent specializing in crimes against children cases and drawing on her experience as a SWAT Team sniper, firearms instructor, and defensive tactics instructor, Stacey has taught her Empowered Mindset and Self Defense class for over 13 years both in the U.S. and abroad. Duffy’s family and friends are excited to share her expertise with the Homer community. Everyone 13 and older is welcome to join this free Zoom presentation. To receive the link by email, register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/110212338070 or contact Tela O’donnell at telaodonnell@gmail.com or 907-399-9854.

BEST OUTDOOR BET: Fancy getting outside and enjoying this great summer weather we’ve been having? The early bird gets the worm, right? Join a Naturalist Led Early Morning Bird Walk at the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center. The next one is from 8-9 a.m. this Saturday at the center at Mile 1.5 Skyline Drive. This is a free event in which you get to explore the local birds, who will be awake and waiting for you. Please be COVID-19 aware and bring your mask and binoculars.

BEST YOUTH BET: The Homer Council on the Arts is leading a City of Peonies Youth Poster Contest, with the deadline at 4 p.m. on June 29. Have a kiddo in your life looking for a project? This contest is open to Kindergarten through 12th grade students. They should design their poster with the theme “Homer: City of Peonies.” Submission guidelines: 8.5” x 11” portrait orientation, original artwork in any 2D medium (except reflective materials like glitter). Include name, grade, contact info on the back in pencil and drop off at HCOA by June 29th. Submissions will not be returned. Go to homerart.org for more info and prize details.

A tractor with the Anchor Point Tractor Launch pulls a fishing boat out of the water on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at the beach in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A tractor with the Anchor Point Tractor Launch pulls a fishing boat out of the water on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at the beach in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A family plays in the ocean on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at the beach in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A family plays in the ocean on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at the beach in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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