Best Bets

As part of the Betster’s annual expedition to document signs of spring, yours truly went on a photo safari to tag the usual seasonal markers.

Yeah, that didn’t work out.

Last month, the Betster did take “The Photo of the Eagles Rebuilding Their Nest By the Lake Street Stoplight,” an annual March favorite. Those eagles can be relied upon to start gathering twigs by the Ides. Good eagles. But as for these other signs? Bupkis.

• Trumpeter swans swimming in open water on Beluga Lake? Nope. The Homer Ice Racing Association did grab their timing shack before it sank, but it’s not like they had to rush. The ice may not be solid, but as for open leads, there might be a puddle or two. Maybe.

• Flowers bursting in color in the Homer Electric Association planter? Are you kidding? Yes, the snow has thawed and there are a few green shots growing, but flowers? Don’t tell former managing editor Joel Gay that. It used to be a tradition that would bring cheers to the newsroom when he announced he saw them.

• Moose grazing on verdant green grass by the Homer News sign? That was a money shot so good one year we made it into a postcard. We’ve seen some moose about, but they’re so darn surly you might want to walk quickly with your veggies on the way to the grocery store parking lot lest you get mugged.

• Boats launching into Kachemak Bay for the Homer Winter King Tournament? OK, that’s been delayed until April 17. To be fair, one year we took a photo of a mariner chopping at ice trying to get his boat free for the tournament, so that photo can’t always be relied upon as a spring favorite. This year at least the harbor is open.

If you see a trend here, you guessed it. It’s a late spring. We are not even going to talk about what’s going on up in the hills, but if you see broken snow shovels littering the roads down the hill, that would be from ridge rats weeping about not seeing their lawns until Memorial Day. Maybe.

Many years ago a Vietnam War combat veteran friend (call sign “Professor”) who came home with some North Vietnamese shrapnel in his legs got wounded again by a jerk who shot him in the butt in a drive-by shooting while Professor rode his bike in a sleepy little Florida coastal town. At the hospital the doctor advised Professor against having the small-caliber bullet removed “because what’s another spot on a leopard?”

That’s how the Betster feels about this winter. After suffering lockdowns, perpetual social distancing, innumerable Zoom conferences, endless hand washing and constant worry about the COVID-19 pandemic, a ruthless, bitterly cold and endless winter is just another spot on the leopard. Bring it on, Mother Nature. We surrender.

Ah, but there’s hope, or Hope, because that’s how Pandora’s Box works. You let out all the evils of the world only to shut it at the last minute, and there at the bottom is hope. She’ll get you through, just like people have gotten all giddy about getting the final jab of their COVID-19 vaccine. I mean, the Betster actually had Easter dinner with family and not with an extra helping of “yeah sure we’ve been really careful in our tight little social bubble but maybe that coronavirus will sneak in.” See? Hope.

So hope hope hope that yes spring really will come, and not in the torment of southern friends’ taunting social media pix. In the meantime, enjoy these little fun moments of Best Bets:

BEST INTO THE LAND BET: How can land acknowledgment spark other ways of knowing, being and listening into action? Join Argent Kvasnikoff and Thorey Munro with “Inspiration and Adaptation,” a Zoom talk from 11 a.m. to noon Friday through Bunnell Street Arts Center. Visit for log-in information.

Kvasnikoff shares the significance of Nichiłt’ana and birch for the Ninilchik Tribe, other materials, colors, the spatial organization of the types of structures that were built in this specific landscape for so long, their seasonal qualities, his work with language, Russian influence on colors, structures, materials as well as Dena’ina wayfinding techniques that inspired his sculpture-in-process, “Tuyanitun.”

Thorey Munro discusses recent land acknowledgment work, her search for intelligence in places, creatures, materials, languages and cultures that defy Western/colonial/capitalist/ patriarchy. By acknowledging the long and sustainable partnership between indigenous people and this land, can we unknit the false, linear promise of “progress”, and envision an ancient future?

BEST CHECK IN BET: There’s a bright spot to the pandemic: You can attend Homer City Council meetings virtually without leaving your home. Testify or listen in starting at 6 p.m. Monday. On the agenda are a slew of appropriations as well as an ordinance prohibiting the launching of motorized watercraft from city beaches. For the agenda and how to participate, visit the city’s website at

Crews work on a boat on Monday, April 5, at the large-vessel haul out beach on the Homer Spit near the Pier 1 Theatre in Homer. In the off season boats are hauled onshore for repair at the beach near the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Crews work on a boat on Monday, April 5, at the large-vessel haul out beach on the Homer Spit near the Pier 1 Theatre in Homer. In the off season boats are hauled onshore for repair at the beach near the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)