We’re in that mystical zone of summer where the kids have gone back to school but the tourist season hasn’t quite wound down. In the Before Times that might have meant dazed visitor industry workers and charter boat crews would be checking off the days until Labor Day, when they could close up shop and sleep in very, very late on Tuesday.
That was then and this is now, and in the pandemic summer, nothing has been normal. Sure, our friends up north came down and visited, helping to salvage a semblance of a tourist season. People fished. People camped. People went to cafes and restaurants. People shopped. People spent a little money.
Kids went back to school, but they’re learning new skills, like keeping their masks on straight and gauging 6-foot distances without tape measures. (Hint: The spread of your arms from finger tip to finger tip is about your height.) Teachers are being the bosses they’ve always been, writing classroom guides and figuring out how to teach students present in the room and off in cyberspace. Alice Witte said “Play like crazy,” but that takes on new meaning as our athletes try to compete and become champions.
Still, some things about summer endure. The light keeps changing, and now we’re close to a Lower 48 summer, where you can see the stars and still be warm. The fireweed is fading to fluff. Gardens are busting out all over. The sandhill cranes have begun to gather at sunset. It’s not quite frosty in the morning yet, but chilly enough you might want to build a fire in the woodstove.
Aspiring carpenters all over — that is, pretty much any Homer person — swing hammers in a manic rush to get those cabins framed in and the roof on before the snow falls. We’re chopping firewood, fixing and painting, and hoping that this will be the last week we have to mow lawns.
In chaos we can find security in the little things: the patterns of nature and the habits of humanity, even if we can’t hug each other. Give your friends an air embrace and a high five. Seize the season, and look for fun, like some of these Best Bets:
BEST OOPS BET: We were so excited about the idea of two political candidates holding events on the same weekend that we didn’t read the fine print. We apologize, Assembly President Cooper, for getting the date wrong on your event. So here it is again:
On Sunday, you’re invited to Grill & Chill with Kelly from 3-6 p.m. in Anchor Point. This is an event being hosted for people to get to know Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President Kelly Cooper, who is also a candidate for the District 31 House seat. This is a drop-in barbecue hosted on Dawson Slaughter’s lot at 33200 Sterling Highway. There will be room to spread out to take COVID-19 precautions, and attendees are asked to wear a mask if they cannot physically distance.
BEST TEAR IT UP BET: For their “Reflect Respond Rebuild” installation, artists Desiree Hagen and Kayla Bloom invite people to visit the Homer Council on the Arts from 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday to see their show — and maybe add to it.
“Papermaking is a disruptive act: chopping, cooking and beating the fibers then ultimately rebuilding and shaping them into a substrate,” the arts council writes. “Hagen and Bloom view paper making as a metaphor for life during Corona. Through reflecting on our individual and collective traumas, they are also reevaluating our histories and through their work addressing what can no longer be tolerated. In processing fibers with significant or intentional meanings and reconstituting them into handmade paper, their goal is to disrupt the old narratives. They will build a collaborative installation using handmade and discarded paper inside the HCOA gallery as well as sell their personal work. Any sales of their work after gallery commission will be donated to the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.”
Visit the exhibit and add to it. Rip paper into 1-inch or 2-inch squares or bring your own paper. At the end of the month they will use the collected material to make a 3-foot-by-5-foot sheet to address community grief and trauma.
“The paper we are providing is made from our old sketchbook pages, writings we no longer resonate with, fibers to be recycled, memories and artifacts of deceased love ones,” they write. “ We encourage you to take this paper and use it. We will be replenishing the paper throughout the month. Please write whatever you want. We enjoy using writings and sketches that which we wish to let go, release and process.”
BEST ONE DAY AT A TIME BET: Zoom has become the new go-to way to meet, and that’s true for our friends at Al-Anon. They’re now holding meetings at noon and 5:30 p.m. The meeting for families and friends of alcoholics is a way for them to know they’re not alone. For the access code, visit www.al-anon-ak.org or call Karen at 907- 299-2028.