Best Bets

The shine of our sun has been concealed the past short while. Vibrancy remains amiss in the dulled blanketing of clouds. Yet, with surprise something magical can be spotted, at times, which juts forth from the dreary milieu and scintillates our desire for color.

Is it a pure mirage? The way a rainbow shimmers and disappears may make one suspicious. It is hard to stare at a rainbow with precision; they are not as solid as the plethora of stones around us, or a tree which stands guard, stable and earnest, at the perimeter. Attempting to share the spectacle emphasizes this difference from other phenomenon.

“Look, there’s a rainbow! Over there! No, to the right of Poot Peak. No … here let me point it out to you.”

They are personal, and catching glimpse of one often seems to be nature sharing a secret which only you can know. Thankfully, we can share them, and a single stroke of the multi-colored brush can bring smiles to many people at once.

Physics may seek to explain the projection of a rainbow through the terminology of refraction, reflection and dispersion, but it is hard to imagine even the most loyal scientist without awe upon first noticing these mythological sparklings.

The ephemeral limits of their appearance add to the attraction of a rainbow, as well. One cannot put off paying attention to their beauty, planning to check in after a moment more of whatever business one is involved in. A rainbow insists we pause whatever we may be doing, providing it with our full devotion.

Apologies for reaching to the romantic metaphor in this next section, but the whimsy of a rainbow is too inspiring for the Betster to pass up on a poetic interpretation.

Perhaps we can learn from the rainbow’s sudden appearance in our own daily affairs, managing to live with ourselves. The rainbow can teach us to pay attention to the weather of our own spirits.

As the skies become gray, and our own inner landscapes verge on monotony, we always have the opportunity to be shocked by the glowing of something mysterious and ephemeral. Only if we pay attention, turning towards the gray skies even when they may seem bland, will we have the chance of noticing a new streak of creativity, light, or magic which inspires us beyond its passing.

Check out these Best Bets for even more fun surprises:

BEST INVADERS FROM THE DEEP BET: It sounds like a cheesy 1950s sci-fi flick, but the fear that European green crabs could invade Alaska have become real. Learn about this invasive species in a short Brown Bag presentation or a longer event, “The Arrival of the European Green Crab,” at noon Friday, Aug. 26, in the Discovery Lab at the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitors Center. Invasive green crabs are in the top 10 worst marine invaders in the world. The current best method of reducing the impacts of invasive green crab is to establish effective education and monitoring programs to promote early detection and rapid response before populations are established. If you are interested in joining a community monitoring team to routinely trap for crab and identify, count and measure each species, come to this event to learn more.

Have time to stick around? Learn more about the green crab and other invasive species from 1-3 p.m. Friday. Learn about the impact of local marine and terrestrial invasive species and learn more about the arrival of the invasive green crab. Most important, learn what you can do to help identify, report and monitor for invasives. There will be interactive activities as well as an opportunity to craft. This event is fun for all ages and families. For more information, contact Ingrid at or 299-4370. Both events are sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.

BEST FUN WITH ‘SHROOMS BET: Homer naturalist and artist Kim McNett has turned a life of adventure into beautiful, descriptive sketch books and art. Focus in on the craft of sketching nature with “Mushroom Identification and Sketching” from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Pratt Museum & Park. The fee is $20; registration is required and space is limited. An award-winning naturalist artist, teacher and wilderness guide, McNett teaches natural journaling and visual art to all ages. This family-friendly workshop integrates the science of mushroom identification and the art of sketching through personal experience and the enduring process of discovery. Materials provided. Visit to register.

BEST CHOW DOWN BET: The World Arts Festival starts next month, but if you want to get an, ahem, taste of it and support the cause, check out the Eat Chowder for Art Fundraiser, from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Grace Ridge Brewing. For $10 you get a bowl of chowder, garlic bread. Enjoy indoors or outdoors. Funds raised support the World Arts Festival.

BEST FINALLY BET: Storyknife, the women’s writing retreat founded by Homer writer Dana Stabenow, has been bringing amazing writers up to Alaska to do what they do best: write in quiet and focus on their art. Friends of Storyknife has been wanting to show off the retreat but, you know, pandemic, and kept postponing an open house. Finally they can show off and hold a celebration of the Storyknife Writers Retreat at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, at 41595 Ridge Circle, Homer. Hors d’oeuvres and champagne will be served. RSVP at For your and the community’s safety, please consider home-testing for COVID-19 before you arrive. Masks will be required when you are indoors at Storyknife. Food and drink will be served outside on the deck.

BEST CONTINUE THE COUNT BET: The sandhill cranes are stretching their wings and getting ready to head south. Meanwhile, citizen scientists are needed for a special sandhill crane population survey in the Homer area (Anchor Point South). Kachemak Crane Watch would like to know of specific crane sightings on Aug. 27 and the final count day Sept. 3. Please report the number of adults, colts, or banded cranes seen by location, time, and day, and your name and contact information for the final count day to or by calling 907-235-6262. For more information, contact Nina Faust at 235-6262.